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Tinnitus

Tinnitus And Hearing Loss

Last updated on:
25/04/2012

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. Therefore, hearing tests are essential before a proper diagnosis of tinnitus may be determined.

  • When a hearing loss is diagnosed, hearing aids are generally fitted before trying the various masking devices for tinnitus.
  • Since hearing aids alone generally are insufficient to solve the problem, tinnitus maskers are usually tried next.
  • Because so many people with tinnitus also have some hearing loss, it suggests that correction of the hearing loss with hearing aids may also relieve the tinnitus. Unfortunately, this has become conventional wisdom among some practitioners, who may inform people with tinnitus that hearing aids alone may relieve their symptoms. Clinical studies show that this is not usually the case.
  • Additional research has demonstrated the value of a combination unit, called the tinnitus instrument, which generates a broadband noise that prevents users from experiencing tinnitus.

Nice To Know:

The tinnitus instrument is a small electronic device-a standard hearing aid and tinnitus masker together in a single case. This device fits behind the external flap of the ear. There are independent volume controls for hearing and masking. Tinnitus instruments have successfully relieved tinnitus in some people.

If a tinnitus instrument is used, it is important to have the hearing aid portion adjusted before adjusting the tinnitus instrument. Only after hearing adjustment is the masking sound added in.

 
 

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.