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Hearing Aids with Tinnitus Features

Hearing Aids with Tinnitus Features

By: Audiologist, Angie Lederman, MS, CCC-A

Since tinnitus might trigger a significant disturbance in a person's life, some people might be surprised to hear that it's merely a symptom of a more severe problem. Tinnitus is most often caused by hearing loss, which may be age-related or noise-induced. 

Some people with tinnitus say it doesn't bother them too much. Still, many others say it interferes with their ability to sleep, focus, or live as normal. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, the good news is that hearing aids can help control tinnitus symptoms by reducing the effect of the condition on the individual's everyday life. 

What role do hearing aids play in the treatment of tinnitus?

Hearing aids are often the first port of call for hearing providers to help with tinnitus symptoms, and for good reason:

  • They raise the overall volume: When you have hearing loss, the sound around you is muffled and reduced in volume, making the ringing in your ears more prominent. When you use hearing aids, the humming or ringing becomes less noticeable. Tinnitus, therefore, becomes less of a concern.
  • They promote social connections: Modern hearing aids are especially adept at making speech sounds clearer. This ensures that once you're used to using your devices regularly, carrying on a conversation is much simpler. The more social you are, the less you'll notice your symptoms. Social interaction also tends to reduce stress, which is linked to tinnitus.
  • They have sound therapy features: Sound therapy is a type of treatment included in several hearing aids. It often comes in the form of a bank of sounds. As the name suggests, sound therapy seeks to "rehabilitate" the auditory system and resign the role of tinnitus to the background. 

Tinnitus solutions by hearing aid manufacturers

With such a strong link between tinnitus and hearing loss, most hearing aid manufacturers have their own solutions for tackling tinnitus

Zen Therapy by Widex

Widex Zen Therapy might be one of the most effective tinnitus treatment techniques on the market today. Widex hearing aids have tinnitus treatment software built-in, which allows the Widex Zen Therapy program to project calming fractal tones directly into your ears. The sounds have a chime-like tone and are played at random intervals. 

These sounds are part of four components that can be customized to meet your specific needs:

  • Counseling: Hearing experts will help you reframe your issues with tinnitus sounds. 
  • Amplification: Widex Zen Therapy hearing aids deliver amplified fractal sounds to the auditory nerve, which cuts through tinnitus noise. The irregular rhythm of the voices, coupled with frequent input to the brain, aids in the fading of tinnitus symptoms.
  • Fractal tones: The fractal tones help distract from the monotonous ringing sounds that tinnitus sufferers have to contend with daily. 
  • Stress reduction: Stress is a major cause of tinnitus, and high levels of stress can exacerbate the condition. Learning how to relax properly is essential in the Widex Zen Therapy method for reducing tinnitus.

The Zen Sounds in The Widex Zen Tinnitus Management App provide a soothing sound background for those who suffer from tinnitus. 

Notch Therapy by Signia

Tinnitus patients are usually prescribed hearing aids and some noise or sound therapy to help minimize their symptoms. Signia's Notch Therapy, on the other hand, is inaudible. Using this technology, Hearing aids can now be programmed with a filtered "notch" centered at the tinnitus pitch, which allows hearing care professionals to provide targeted care for tinnitus. 

During the hearing aid fitting, a hearing specialist determines the tinnitus pitch of the individual and activates a "notch" that aligns the pitch to the hearing aid tinnitus soundbank. For instance, if the tinnitus is about 1,000 Hz, the hearing specialist will change your hearing aids to provide amplification across the frequency spectrum based on your hearing loss but exclude anything below 1,000 Hz. This strategically placed notch helps to eradicate tinnitus at its neural source, allowing the brain to learn to ignore the sound gradually.

According to reports, those who had Notch Therapy enabled in their hearing aids demonstrated a substantial difference within three weeks and sustained the improvement for six months, relative to those who used hearing aids alone. Notch Therapy is used in the majority of recent Signia hearing aids, including the Signia Xperience.

Tinnitus SoundSupport by Oticon

Tinnitus SoundSupport in Oticon hearing aids helps you monitor your tinnitus by playing various sounds such as white noise and relaxing ocean-like sounds. The Oticon ON App for iPhone and Android allows you to monitor the sounds in your hearing aids in a discreet manner. You may tweak the sounds until they provide the relaxation you need.

Tinnitus Balance Portfolio by Phonak

The ultimate goal of Tinnitus Balance, according to Phonak, is to train the brain to reclassify tinnitus as an unimportant sound that fades into the background. That's why the Tinnitus Balance Portfolio of Phonak hearing aids helps wearers focus less on tinnitus.

To provide relief, the portfolio employs three strategies:

  • Hearing aids
  • A noise generator with a wide range of frequencies
  • A dedicated tinnitus app for smartphones

This entire Tinnitus Balance portfolio is available in Phonak hearing aids such as Audéo Paradise.

As you can see, there are several ways that hearing aid manufacturers are addressing tinnitus symptoms. To find out more about which approach may be best for you, contact us today to set up an appointment!

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