It is very common for tinnitus and hearing loss to go hand in hand. For this reason, most hearing aid manufacturers are now producing hearing aids either specifically for tinnitus sufferers or at least providing hearing aids with specific tinnitus programs within the hearing aid platform.
Here we list the type of tinnitus protocol used by the main manufacturers. If you would like more specific information, please either give us a call to arrange a tinnitus consultation with our audiologist to enable them to recommend a product which is most suited to your results.
When hearing aids are used to assist with tinnitus, it is done so under the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) protocol. Our audiologist are specially trained in TRT having completed both the initial training and advanced training courses. It is estimated that approximately 80% of tinnitus patients also have a treatable hearing loss. Adding to this is the fact that the pitch of the person’s tinnitus is often in the same area (frequency range) as their hearing loss. Therefore, the lack of hearing sensitivity around these frequencies mean the person becomes increasingly aware (and annoyed) by their tinnitus as those environmental sounds are no longer covering up the tinnitus.
This scenario is comparable to the fact that people often complain that their tinnitus becomes louder in quiet situations eg going to sleep. The tinnitus is not necessarily “louder” in quiet situations, rather they are more aware of it due to the lack of ambient sounds that would otherwise cover up the tinnitus.
Therefore, hearing aids are used in tinnitus treatment for two reasons:
- They improve the hearing sensitivity around the region of hearing loss and therefore tinnitus pitch, thereby significantly reducing the tinnitus awareness because the tinnitus is now being covered by the environmental sounds eg speech, ambient sounds.
- When there is no speech or ambient sounds present (when the tinnitus is often more noticeable) the added tinnitus sound therapy programs within the hearing aids enrich the sound environment by producing a relaxing sound stimulus to cover the tinnitus, thereby reducing the tinnitus awareness and disturbance.
Oticon recently introduced their Tinnitus SoundSupport program into all of their ultra discreet Ti hearing aids. The stimuli can be either a customisable broad band signal (like a shower sound) or it is also the first sound generator instrument to include built-in ocean sounds. In a recent study of 88 audiologists, ‘Ocean Sounds’ were the most preferred sound for their tinnitus patients when compared to conventional broad band stimuli.
In addition to the Tinnitus SoundSupport hearing aids, Oticon also supplies support materials designed to guide you through the treatment process to maximise your chances of rehabilitation. For more information on Oticon’s Tinnitus SoundSupport program click on the following button