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People with tinnitus may also have hearing loss. Several manufacturers sell hearing aids with features to help relieve tinnitus symptoms.
This article explains what tinnitus is, how hearing aids can help, a list of products, and how tinnitus impacts health.
There is no single trigger for tinnitus — while it can be a sign that there is an issue in the auditory system, doctors do not often find a cause.
- noise-induced hearing loss, including exposure to a single loud noise
- medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, especially in high doses or frequency
- ear infections
- sinus infections
- hormonal changes in females
- thyroid changes
- Ménière’s disease
Tinnitus can self-resolve — stopping medication that causes it or limiting exposure to loud noises may cease its occurrence. However, consult with a doctor before stopping any prescribed medicines.
Pulsatile tinnitus, a rare form of tinnitus, can sound similar to a rhythmic pulsing in the ear. This pulsing may be in time with an individual’s heartbeat. Doctors may be able to hear this sound when using a stethoscope or a small microphone. This form of tinnitus may be due to abnormal growth, such as a tumor, or an abnormal connection between veins and arteries.
It is important to seek medical attention if a person believes they may have pulsatile tinnitus.
Tinnitus can be an early sign of hearing loss. Some people may choose to use hearing aids to help with hearing loss and tinnitus.
Some people with tinnitus who do not have hearing loss may find sound maskers beneficial. These devices sit in the ear and emit white noise.
Many hearing aid brands offer some form of tinnitus relief. These may come in the form of an app that connects to the devices, or a program within the hearing aid itself.
Individuals may wish to consider the following before purchasing a hearing aid:
- Battery: Some models are rechargeable, while others use disposable batteries.
- Cost: The cost of a hearing aid impact a person’s decision whether to buy them. Devices with more features will often be more expensive. Tinnitus markers, devices that generate sounds without hearing aids, can also be costly.
- Smartphone compatibility: Some brands offer tinnitus relief via an app, so a person may wish to check their smartphone is compatible with these devices.
- Style: For some, a discreet style may be an important factor to consider. A person may also need to check the severity of their hearing loss, as some devices that sit in the ear canal may not be effective for them.
Below is a list of hearing aid products that may be useful for people with tinnitus.
Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.
Many of Signia’s hearing aids feature built-in tinnitus relief, which the company calls Notch Therapy. This function delivers three different types of relief: static noise, ocean wave noises, and Notch Therapy.
The static noise and ocean wave noises cover up the tinnitus noises by providing a distraction to reduce its impact.
Notch Therapy reduces tonal tinnitus, which Signia claims may cause the symptom to disappear completely. The company says a person should contact their hearing care professional to find out more and set up this function.
Additional features of the Signia Styletto include:
- rechargeable battery
- slim behind-the-ear design
- different color options
- connectivity with the Signia app
ReSound’s offers an app called Relief, which provides tinnitus relief.
The app offers a mix of sound therapy, relaxation exercises, meditation, and guidance, while the audio streams into a person’s hearing aids.
Resound Relief compatible with six of ReSound’s devices. It is free to download and available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The company states that hearing aid users can customize their soundscape by choosing between their library of sounds and balancing them between both ears. This may mask the tinnitus and, over time, help people manage the symptom.
All of Starkey’s hearing aid devices feature tinnitus technology.
It works by delivering a customizable soundscape that users or hearing care professionals can fine-tune, which may soothe and relieve the effects of tinnitus.
As well as this built-in technology, Starkey also offers a tinnitus relief app called Relax, another customizable soundscape with the addition of images that can help soothe tinnitus. A person does not need hearing aids to use this app.
Other features of the Starkey Livio Edge AI include:
- Bluetooth compatibility
- brain and body tracking
- rechargeable battery
- customizable programs and places
- fall detection and alerts
- translation and transcription feature
- available in behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and in-the-canal styles
The More Hearing Aid from Oticon offers built-in tinnitus support. It allows a person to customize and choose from various sounds such as ocean or white noise.
Individuals can choose which sounds they hear through Oticon’s ON app, which is available for iPhone and Android. People can also stream their own tinnitus relief audio options, such as music, audiobooks, podcasts, and relaxation guides.
Other features of the Oticon More Hearing Aid include:
- Bluetooth connectivity
- rechargeable battery
- background sound enhancement
- availability in eight colors
The American Tinnitus Association says that nearly 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country. Approximately 20 million individuals have chronic tinnitus, while 2 million find that tinnitus severely negatively impacts their daily life.
Tinnitus can impact mental and physical health. People with the symptom may experience the following:
- mood swings
- difficulty falling or staying asleep
- poor concentration
People may notice sounds from tinnitus when there is low background noise, such as when they are in a quiet environment or trying to sleep.
The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that the following treatments may provide tinnitus relief:
- Counseling: Therapy, such as tinnitus retraining therapy, can help people learn how to live with the symptom. Counseling can help individuals understand what causes tinnitus and help people change how they react to it.
- Wearable sound generators: These devices fit in the ear and make soft noises, tones, or music to help mask tinnitus.
- Tabletop sound generators: These devices sit by the bed and play sounds, such as waves, waterfalls, or rain, to help people with tinnitus fall asleep. Additioanlly, CDs, phone apps, and fans may also help mask sounds from tinnitus.
- Acoustic neural stimulation: This technique uses a palm-sized device and headphones to deliver a broadband acoustic signal alongside music. They aim to desensitize people to tinnitus.
- Cochlear implants: These hearing devices bypass the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve, which may help mask tinnitus.
- Antidepressants and other medications: Certain prescription medications can improve mood and help people with tinnitus fall asleep. A
2012 systematic reviewfound that tricyclic antidepressants, such as trazodone, can decrease tinnitus intensity and improve quality of life.
Additionally, people may find meditation beneficial. A
The NIDCD recommends that people may prevent tinnitus from becoming worse by:
- keeping volume on devices low
- moving away from sound sources, such as loudspeakers
- wearing hearing protection, such as earplugs, where possible
A person should consult a doctor or audiologist if their tinnitus:
- becomes regular or constant
- gets worse
- affects sleep or concentration
- affects mental health
- beats in time with their pulse
- presents as sounds in the ear that other people can hear
People with tinnitus may also experience hearing loss. Hearing aids can provide relief for tinnitus by amplifying background noises and masking tinnitus sounds.
Many hearing care brands have some form of tinnitus relief technology in their hearing devices. Some brands have the technology built-in to the hearing aids, others have an app, while some companies offer both.