HEARING AIDS AND MASKERS FOR TINNITUS
Often, hearing loss and tinnitus are seen together. The tinnitus does not cause the hearing loss, but rather it is a symptom of inner ear damage. When hearing loss is present, the audiologist will discuss with you the impact is it having on your daily life. The hearing aid can relieve the tinnitus by enhancing your acoustic environment while providing appropriate gain or amplification for the hearing loss. Hearing aids may also ease communication difficulties caused by hearing loss.
Maskers are electronic devices that can be worn at the ear level or be placed in an environment. These devices provide a “whooshing” sound that may cover up the tinnitus. Literature demonstrates these devices often do not provide narrow band masking sounds at a high enough frequency to match the tinnitus, requiring the sound to be louder to provide relief. This may, in turn, be a disadvantage for some. The masking sound can interfere with communication, resulting in more anxiety and difficulty understanding others. Also, tinnitus can change pitch or tone, so a device that is matched to a particular frequency can lose its effectiveness. Finally, wearing a hearing aid or masker is not recommended during sleeping hours.
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