The Connection between Tinnitus & Hearing Loss

December 7, 2018 1

“What is that annoying ringing in my ear(s)?!” or “Oh! I lost the hearing in my ear(s) again!” Chances are, if you have said either of these common phrases, you probably have a hearing loss of some kind.  In fact, medical research in the past few years has shown that people who have tinnitus also have some form of hearing loss.

Hearing loss has many differing causes and severities.  Some people living with hearing loss experience a small or narrow band of sound frequencies as the result of a minor injury to the inner ear. In these cases, the injury may not result in hearing loss, aside from the Tinnitus or ringing ears experienced. However, for the majority of Tinnitus cases, hearing loss is the underlying issue.  According to the National Hearing Association, “Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of Tinnitus. It is also said that up to 90 percent of people with Tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss.”

Tinnitus is actually not a condition in and of itself. Tinnitus is a symptom of another underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. Having Tinnitus can also mean you could have a hearing loss that cannot be measured by a regular hearing test. This is called a “hidden hearing loss”.  A typical sign of hidden hearing loss is when it is difficult to hear because of background noise, in addition to ringing in the ears.

Types of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can vary greatly from one person to another. Because of the large variations in the severity of Tinnitus possible, there are many different kinds of Tinnitus. The most important difference can be found in the extent to which tinnitus is considered a problem by the people it affects.

Some people with Tinnitus find ways to live with the condition pretty quickly. In cases such as these, Tinnitus is often explained as a buzzing noise in the back of the head. On the other hand, some people find the buzzing noise to be intolerable and so disturbing that they have to quit their jobs or give up other defining life roles.

For many people with Tinnitus, the problem is most bothersome at night. Many sufferers also have problems concentrating.

Brain Health & Tinnitus

According to recent medical research, “the absence of audiological input (active hearing abilities) from the inner ear to the brain, which causes the hearing nerves between the inner ear and the brain to spontaneously send signals to the brain which are interpreted as sound, is Tinnitus.”

Additional studies have shown that treatment for hearing loss with an increase in audiological input (for example through hearing aids) can reduce tinnitus experienced. People with Tinnitus therefore have some form of hearing loss.

Noise causes permanent and irreversible damage to the cells of the cochlea, which are highly sound sensitive. Many professionals, such as carpenters, pilots, musicians, city workers, landscapers and employees around loud machinery are at high risk. Chainsaws, guns and very loud devices (say speakers) are also common causes of high frequency hearing loss as well. But, I bet you didn’t know that listening to your head phones are top volume for only 5 minutes can also cause permanent hearing loss. Considering the following Tinnitus facts:

  • 1 in 5 teenagers has a hearing loss in the U.S.
  • 1 in 5 adults has a hearing loss in the U.S.
  • 3 in 5 veterans returning from war will show a hearing loss (hearing loss and Tinnitus are the top 2 reported health concerns among service members both active and veterans, according to the Hearing Health Foundation)
  • Hearing loss is the 2nd most prevalent health issue globally

Get Tinnitus Help

If you or a loved one experience any of these warning signs of hearing loss, it’s time to consider getting a complete diagnostic hearing exam.

At Physicians Hearing Solutions, all of our hearing healthcare professionals are fully licensed and trained in providing each patient with the best hearing healthcare options available. We want you to know you can trust that you are getting the highest quality hearing healthcare each time you come to see us. Our goal is to improve your quality of life through providing you with the quality hearing healthcare you deserve. We offer complimentary complete Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations. Please don’t wait, call today, (401) 921-0181 Warwick, Rhode Island office, (401) 435-5355 East Providence, Rhode Island office.

One comment

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