Tinnitus and hearing loss

Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand, with approximately 80% of people suffering from tinnitus also having hearing loss.

Hearing loss may affect the signals sent from the ear to the brain. Those affected signals can result in unwanted activity in the brain that is known as tinnitus. While tinnitus doesn’t cause hearing loss, the perceived sound can be distracting and make it hard to concentrate on other sounds. That’s why hearing aids for tinnitus can be an effective way to treat tinnitus as well as hearing loss.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus has been described as ringing, buzzing, clicking or hissing, among others, in your ears that only you experience. It may be constant, or it may come and go. The type and intensity of noise varies from person to person. It can be high-pitched, deep, low-pitched or even a tone that changes.

It can happen anywhere and at any time – while talking on the phone, during a presentation at work, or even when you’re simply sitting in silence. You hear a noise that no one else seems to hear and that doesn’t seem to have a source. Whether the sound is mild or severe, occasional or constant, tinnitus can keep you from concentrating and hearing what you want to hear.

While others may not experience the exact sound, you’re not alone. Tinnitus is one of the most common health conditions in the world, affecting between 10 and 15% of the global population on a regular basis.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

Tinnitus can develop in people of all ages and backgrounds, but people who are older or who have had a lot of exposure to loud noises are especially at risk. There are a variety of tinnitus causes:

Loud noise

If you’ve been exposed to loud music, gunshots, explosions, or loud noise from construction or machinery, you may find yourself suffering from tinnitus.

Medications

Some medications also appear to result in tinnitus as a side effect. 

Aging

Some tinnitus is associated with age-related hearing loss. As you age, the amount of nerve fibers in your ears decrease, possibly causing hearing problems often associated with tinnitus.

Other causes of tinnitus

  • Sometimes earwax blockage can cause tinnitus.
  • Injury to the ears, neck or head
  • Neurological disorders
  • Degeneration of bones in the middle ear
  • Upper respiratory infections or jaw popping joint (TMJ) disorders can cause tinnitus. 

How can tinnitus be managed?

There’s no known cure for tinnitus, but there are several types of tinnitus management options available that can give you relief. There are tinnitus treatment ideas that are little more than gimmicks; but the management approaches listed here have proven to be a success for many people who suffer from tinnitus. Reducing symptoms may mean enlisting the best hearing aids for tinnitus that fit your management approach or style.

Sound therapy

Sound therapy means external noises are brought in to help mask the troubling sounds of tinnitus. This could be white noise, specialized ear masking noises, low-level music or even your own customized sound. By listening to different types of sounds, it becomes easier to shift your attention away from the tinnitus sound. Together with your hearing care professional, you can find the best hearing aids for tinnitus with sound therapy that give you the most relief.

Tinnitus management programs

Most tinnitus management programs aim to teach the brain to be less distracted by tinnitus sounds while learning to focus on other sounds or things that are more important to you. With the tinnitus sounds relegated to the background, people suffering from tinnitus can focus on more important things occurring around them.

ReSound Relief app

No matter how you hear or experience tinnitus, the ReSound Relief app helps you to easily and discreetly manage your symptoms. The app offers a combination of sound therapy, relaxing exercises, meditation, and guidance, so you can focus on the sounds that matter. It also allows you to create your own soundscapes from environmental sounds and small pieces of music, layering up to five sounds. It can be used by all people suffering from tinnitus – you don’t have to be a hearing aid user. With your smartphone or tablet and your Bluetooth/wireless speaker headset, you’re ready to use the ReSound Relief app and get tinnitus relief at your fingertips. 
Download the app
Download on the App Store. Get it on Google Play.

Stress and anxiety management

Tinnitus and stress can form a vicious cycle. Tinnitus may cause stress, which then makes the tinnitus worse. Addressing stress with anti-anxiety measures like listening to soothing/calming sounds, exercise, and meditation can be an effective form of tinnitus treatment. Getting adequate sleep and quitting smoking are also good for your overall health and helpful for fighting tinnitus. 

Tinnitus masking

Tinnitus management is sometimes referred to as tinnitus masking. Tinnitus masking implies covering up the internal sounds of tinnitus with external sound, but totally masking tinnitus isn’t the optimal approach to tinnitus management. While masking some degree of the tinnitus can provide relief, it’s important to leave some of the tinnitus audible to allow for habituation to take place. Together with sound therapy, to lessen the perception of tinnitus, acclimating to the tinnitus over time is a key part of tinnitus management. Without habituation taking place, once a masking sound is shut off, the tinnitus is highly likely to come back, and sometimes even louder. 

Take control over your tinnitus

No tinnitus treatment works immediately – it takes time and commitment from you to gain control over your tinnitus. But many people do find relief from their tinnitus, especially if they find a skilled hearing care professional who can help with finding the best hearing aids for tinnitus masking.

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How can hearing aids help with tinnitus relief?

Many people with tinnitus also have some hearing loss. Hearing aids for tinnitus masking allow people with hearing loss to hear sounds they might be missing, which can effectively cover – and remove the focus from – the tinnitus ringing. When you are able to hear everything going on around you, it can often provide relief from the internal sound of tinnitus.

Sound therapy using hearing aids

The best hearing aids for tinnitus can be programmed to contrast the internal sound of tinnitus. Augmenting external noise makes it more difficult to perceive the internal sounds, helping the brain focus on outside sounds. The impact of hearing aids for tinnitus masking is particularly strong for people who have hearing loss in the same frequency range as their tinnitus.

Auditory stimulation

Auditory stimulation can provide tinnitus relief for a short period of time. A great variety of sounds can be used, including music with different types of filtering, amplitude modulated sounds with different frequencies, or various noise stimulations. If you don’t have special hearing aids for tinnitus masking, the ReSound Relief app offers a combination of sound therapy, relaxing exercises, meditation, and guidance, which can be streamed directly to your hearing aids. It can be used by all people suffering from tinnitus. If you don’t have hearing aids with Bluetooth technology, you can connect your smartphone or tablet to a headset and be on your way to a more comfortable life with tinnitus. 

Improved communication

Loud tinnitus can make it difficult for people to participate in a conversation. The best hearing aids for tinnitus help by augmenting external sound above the perceived volume of tinnitus. Improving communication with one’s surroundings may help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety often associated with auditory fatigue, having to listen intently throughout the day.

Hearing aids for tinnitus

Since tinnitus and hearing loss are sometimes linked, wearing a modern hearing aid for tinnitus can be an effective tinnitus treatment. In addition to amplifying external sound, the best hearing aids for tinnitus masking have built in tinnitus therapy, providing sound therapy that can be adjusted to compensate for your hearing loss.

Sound therapy means external noises are brought in to help mask the troubling sounds of tinnitus. This could be white noise, specialized ear masking noises, low-level music or even your own customized sound. Think of a candle in a dark room. Since there’s such a contrast between the candle and its dark environment, the candle really stands out. But the same candle in a well-lit, busy room blends into the background. The same is true for tinnitus. The introduction of other sounds masks the tinnitus so that it blends in with the background and is less prominent.

The best hearing aids for tinnitus 

ReSound LiNX Quattro
Explore the world's first Premium-Plus hearing aid with unprecedented Layers of Sound.
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ReSound LiNX 3D
ReSound LiNX 3D has built in tinnitus therapy, providing sound therapy that can be adjusted to compensate for your hearing loss.
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ReSound ENZO 3D
Ease the discomfort of your tinnitus with ReSound ENZO 3D – the only Made for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch (MFi) hearing aid for people with severe-to-profound hearing loss.
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Take the first step in managing your tinnitus

Tinnitus cannot be completely eliminated, and there are no fast fixes. But with help from your hearing care professional, you can set the right goals and find the best hearing aids for tinnitus.

Find a hearing care professional

Q & A: Tinnitus and hearing aids

Can hearing aids make tinnitus worse?
Will hearing aids help my tinnitus?
Will hearing aids stop tinnitus? 
Can hearing aids reduce tinnitus?
How can I deal with/treat my tinnitus?
Tinnitus management programs aim to teach the brain to be less distracted by tinnitus sounds, while learning to focus on other more important things in life. Another option is the ReSound Relief app, which provides engaging activities and comprehensive tips for understanding and managing your tinnitus. Addressing stress with anti-anxiety measures like listening to soothing/calming sounds, exercise and meditation can also be an effective form of tinnitus treatment.

A hearing care professional can inform you about what treatment options are available. Because tinnitus is unique from person to person, it’s important to find the best hearing aids for tinnitus for you, as well as a treatment plan that is individualized to your personal needs.

Tinnitus hearing aids – Testimonials

Read how people find comfort from and cope with their tinnitus with our hearing aids for tinnitus.

“I have had tinnitus and hearing loss for many years. I was subjected to extremely loud noise in the Army. I had to turn up the volume on TVs and radio. I could not hear or understand normal conversations. I could not follow conversations at restaurants or other gatherings. I always had to have people repeat themselves, so I could understand them. The tinnitus was affecting my sleep.

I went to the VA in order to get help for tinnitus. The VA audiologist determined the extent of my hearing loss

Bob Ruck, Folsom, LA
These are my first hearing aids. I did not know how bad my hearing loss was until I first used my aids. I can now hear and understand the TV. When my friends and my wife talk to me, I have to ask them to lower their voices. They all tell me they are used to raising their voices, so I could understand them. I can now hear and understand phone conversations. I can carry on conversations in restaurants and crowded rooms.

I can hear conversations, the TV, the radio and phone conversations. I play the clarinet as a hobby and when I set my aids at the right level it is much easier to distinguish correct tones. While reading in a quiet room I turn on the background sounds to lessen tinnitus.”


Bob Ruck, Folsom, LA