It's easy to underestimate how debilitating the effects of tinnitus can be. If you don’t know, it’s a hearing condition that causes a constant ringing in your ears, which is almost always audible only to the sufferer.
It might not sound like a big deal, but tinnitus can be seriously debilitating if it’s at a serious enough intensity, leading to lack of sleep, increased stress, or a compromised mental state. That’s why some people will take somewhat drastic measures to counteract or negate their tinnitus – one such approach being hearing aids that can counter or prevent tinnitus.
If you’re interested in hearing aids like these, or just hearing aids in general, it would be a good idea to meet with a hearing specialist to discuss your options. To do this, fill out our quick form, and you’ll be set up with a free consultation with a hearing specialist near you.
Can a hearing aid reduce tinnitus?
Tinnitus is, at the time of this article’s publication, incurable. Indeed, this is the case with a large majority of hearing problems, such as sensorineural hearing loss (the most common form of hearing loss.) So rather than curing tinnitus, we’ll have to look at treating it – or in other words, keeping it at bay.
So can hearing aids be used to this effect? Can they be used to combat tinnitus the same way they’re used to combat hearing loss?
Well, while initially unintentional, when people suffering from both tinnitus and hearing loss use hearing aids to counteract the hearing loss, they find that the severity of their tinnitus drops sharply.
When wearing hearing aids, the ears and brain are receiving more natural stimulation from environmental sounds and conversations. Even when in a quiet room, the hearing aid will pick up ambient environmental sounds – such as the air conditioner humming, or a fan blowing that the listener could not hear otherwise.
These natural environmental sounds provide a “masking” effect for the tinnitus. The hearing aid allows the wearer to hear what they are supposed to hear, and helps to “cover up” the tinnitus.
What hearing aids are best for tinnitus?
So yeah, standard hearing aids do a good job of letting in enough background sound that tinnitus can be drowned out – but are there any hearing aids that go above and beyond when it comes to providing tinnitus relief?
There sure are! Let’s have a look at a few:
Widex Zen Therapy – Best for calming tones
Some Widex devices come packaged with Widex Zen Therapy. This feature is branded as a “comprehensive tinnitus management program,” and uses a holistic approach to assuage your tinnitus.
Widex delves into the science on its own page, but to sum it up, all you need to know is that it uses “fractal tones” to provide relaxation and sound therapy for your ears. Music is also full of fractal tones, so if your favorite album ever has a soothing effect on your soul, now you know why. You may also recognize these tones from wind chimes!
Starkey Multiflex technology – Best for customization
Starkey implements its own tinnitus-cancelling technology – known as the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology – into its hearing aids. This produces a comforting sound that can be customized by you or your hearing healthcare professional.
The Multiflex is included in Livio AI, Livio, and Muse iQ hearing aid models.
ReSound Relief – Best for app support
ReSound’s tinnitus relief comes in the form of ReSound Relief. Among the many hearing aids that can be paired with a smartphone, devices that are equipped with ReSound Relief can be adjusted remotely using the equivalent app.
In fact, you don’t even need to be using a hearing aid! The Resound Relief app works just as well through a wireless headset, so if you’re suffering from tinnitus but feel hesitant about buying a hearing aid, this could be a great step for you.
Oticon Opn Tinnitus Sound Support – Best for different kinds of sound
Oticon offers its own tinnitus support, aptly named “Oticon Tinnitus Sound Support.” There are multiple therapy signals to choose from with this feature: white noise, pink noise, shaped noise, as well as three different ocean-type noises.
If you don’t know what these various noises are, worry not. If you have your hearing tested, your hearing healthcare professional will be able to examine your tinnitus and let you know what you need. Fill out our form to arrange one such hearing test, free of charge!
Beltone Legend – Best for white noise
Featured in our Beltone article, the Beltone Legend is one of the brand’s more top-of-the-line products. It includes a nice little feature called the “tinnitus breaker,” which despite the cool name, is not a cannon with the capability of razing entire cities to dust.
We mentioned earlier that background noise like air conditioning or wind, when reintroduced through use of a hearing aid, is able to drown out tinnitus. Well, Beltone’s tinnitus breaker manufactures its own white noise, and drowns it out artificially.
This feature isn’t just in the Beltone Legend – it’s actually in almost all of Beltone’s recent models. So if you’re looking for a Beltone hearing aid with a tinnitus canceller, you’re most likely in luck. But remember, always ask!
Though it may not cause physical harm or shorten your lifespan, tinnitus is undoubtedly an issue that deserves attention and proper treatment. Left uncared for, it can have a serious effect on your sleep cycle or mental state.
To talk to someone about possible solutions to your tinnitus or hearing loss, you can always book a free consultation with a hearing specialist near you through our form. You’ll be able to go over any and all of your options in depth, and in person.