What Is Tinnitus?

Do you (or a loved one) experience ringing, buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears or head that no one else can hear? If so, you are not alone. You have tinnitus, an audiological and neurological condition experienced by more than 25 million American adults. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present. While it is commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus can manifest in many different perceptions of sound, including buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing, and clicking. In some rare cases, tinnitus patients report hearing music. Tinnitus can be both an acute (temporary) condition or a chronic (ongoing) health condition.

Millions of Americans experience tinnitus, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that approximately 10 percent of the U.S. adult population — over 25 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus; roughly 5 million people struggle with chronic tinnitus [1].

Image Credit: Mayo Clinic

Living with tinnitus can be challenging, affecting various aspects of daily life. However, there are solutions available to help manage tinnitus, and one promising option is the use of hearing aids. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how hearing aids and specifically Widex hearing aids can provide relief for tinnitus sufferers and discuss the best hearing aid options specifically designed for managing tinnitus.

Additionally, we will address important questions such as “How can I manage my tinnitus?”, “How can Widex hearing aids for tinnitus help?” and “When should I seek medical advice for tinnitus?”. By providing valuable insights and information, we aim to empower individuals with tinnitus to make informed decisions about their auditory health and find the most suitable Widex hearing aid model to alleviate your symptoms.

How Can I Manage My Tinnitus?

Managing tinnitus involves finding strategies to reduce its volume and distress. In this section, we will address important questions such as how to manage tinnitus effectively. Let’s explore some strategies that may ease tinnitus symptoms and improve your quality of life [2].

Image Credit: Widex
  1. Learn your triggers: Pay attention to the circumstances that worsen your tinnitus symptoms. Identifying triggers such as alcohol or caffeine consumption can help you anticipate and avoid situations that exacerbate your condition.
  2. Consider hearing aids: If you have hearing loss in addition to tinnitus, hearing aids can provide relief by amplifying external sounds and reducing the prominence of tinnitus. Widex hearing aids for tinnitus are an option; we will discuss this in the next paragraphs.
  3. Explore masking devices: Masking devices resemble hearing aids and produce sounds, such as nature sounds, to make tinnitus less noticeable. These devices distract the brain, making tinnitus symptoms more tolerable. Some combination instruments integrate masking devices with hearing aids, offering personalized sound streaming options.
  4. Practice sound masking techniques: Playing music or white noise can help divert your attention from tinnitus, especially during quiet periods that interfere with sleep. Bedside sound generators, fans, or earbuds/headphones can provide relief by creating a soothing auditory environment.
  5. Engage in physical activity: Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the frequency, intensity, and distress caused by tinnitus in some individuals. Additionally, physical activity promotes overall well-being, improves sleep quality, and helps you cope with tinnitus.
  6. Explore mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Mindfulness-based programs and CBT techniques can help you manage negative thoughts associated with tinnitus, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall mental health.
  7. Seek support: Online tinnitus support groups offer a platform to connect with others experiencing similar challenges. Sharing successful coping strategies and experiences can provide hope, control, and a sense of community.
  8. Consider tinnitus retraining therapy: This therapy combines counseling and sound masking to help the brain relearn hearing patterns, making tinnitus less noticeable over time.
  9. Manage stress and stay socially active: Stress can intensify tinnitus perception, so adopting stress reduction techniques and maintaining social connections can shift the focus away from tinnitus and promote well-being.

By implementing these strategies and exploring appropriate interventions, you can take control of your tinnitus and improve your overall quality of life.

How Can Hearing Aids Help With Tinnitus?

Widex Hearing Aids for Tinnitus
Image Credit: Widex

Hearing aids can be a valuable tool for individuals experiencing tinnitus, especially those with coexisting hearing loss. For many people, hearing aids serve as an important starting point, as they help amplify external sounds to a desirable volume. By addressing hearing difficulties, hearing aids can contribute to reducing the impact of tinnitus. While they may not work for everyone, when combined with other strategies like tinnitus retraining therapy, they can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that yields positive outcomes.

One key aspect of hearing aids for tinnitus sufferers with hearing loss is the provision of prescriptive amplification. When the brain doesn’t receive the necessary levels of sound, it constantly seeks the missing input, leading to hyperactivity that contributes to the perception of ringing, hissing, or buzzing associated with tinnitus. Hearing aids with prescriptive amplification help replace the missing sound input, serving as a vital step in managing tinnitus.

However, it’s important to note that hearing aids alone may not fully address the involvement of the limbic and autonomic nervous systems in tinnitus. To achieve more comprehensive relief, a combination of amplification, prescriptive sound therapy, and educational counseling is necessary. This multifaceted approach targets both the emotional and autonomic responses to tinnitus, gradually reducing hyperactivity and rewiring the brain to create new auditory pathways. By addressing underlying hearing loss, the reactions created by the nervous system, and implementing soothing sound therapy, patients have a better chance of achieving desired tinnitus relief.

It’s essential to work closely with an audiologist who can provide further guidance and explore treatment options based on individual needs. Depending on the severity of the tinnitus, a combination of therapies may be recommended, including sound therapy, sound maskers, counseling, medication, or other appropriate interventions. In some cases, a multi-disciplinary approach involving various medical providers may be necessary to address more complex tinnitus cases effectively [3,4].

Best Hearing Aid Options For Tinnitus 

Widex Hearing Aids for Tinnitus
Image Credit: Widex

While a definitive cure for tinnitus is not yet available, there are management tools that can help alleviate its impact. If you’ve been struggling to find relief from tinnitus, Widex hearing aids for tinnitus with Widex Zen Therapy may hold the solution you’ve been seeking [5].

Widex Zen Therapy For Tinnitus Sufferers:

Widex Zen Therapy is a leading tinnitus management program integrated into Widex hearing aids. This innovative therapy discreetly projects soothing fractal tones directly into your ears. The chime-like tones are random in nature, preventing irritation caused by repetitive frequencies. Even if you don’t have hearing loss and tinnitus, you can still benefit from using a pair of Widex Zen Therapy hearing aids.

How Widex Zen Therapy Works

The success of Widex Zen Therapy lies in its four-part system, which encompasses counseling, amplification, fractal tones, and relaxation. Each component plays a crucial role in the effective treatment of tinnitus.

Image Credit: Widex
  1. Counseling: At Tinnitus Relief Studio, the Widex hearing specialists offer counseling to help you reframe your perception of tinnitus. While they are not trained therapists, their guidance, combined with the calming environment of the studio, can provide significant relief. Additionally, the Widex Zen Therapy app serves as a valuable resource, offering 24/7 access to helpful advice on managing tinnitus.
  2. Amplification: Tinnitus often occurs as a result of damaged hair cells in the cochlea, which impairs the auditory nerve’s ability to receive sound input. Zen Therapy Widex hearing aids for tinnitus counteract this by transmitting amplified fractal tones to the auditory nerve. The irregular pattern of these tones, combined with regular auditory feedback, helps fade tinnitus symptoms.
  3. Fractal Tones (Zen): Zen fractal tones utilize an irregular rhythm to soothe tinnitus. As tinnitus often manifests as a monotonous sound, the introduction of fractal tones helps divert attention from the constant noise experienced by tinnitus sufferers. With the Widex Zen Therapy app, you can customize your experience by selecting different fractal sounds, adjusting the volume, balancing the sound between your hearing aids, and even setting a timer for the tones to automatically turn off as you fall asleep.
  4. Relaxation: Stress is a significant trigger for tinnitus, and high stress levels can exacerbate the condition. Learning relaxation techniques is a crucial step in the Widex Zen Therapy process. Widex hearing specialists provide relaxation advice during consultations and counseling sessions, and the Widex Zen Therapy app offers a library of relaxation exercises and guidance to reinforce these techniques.

Who Can Benefit From Widex Zen Therapy Treatment?

Widex Zen Therapy is suitable for a wide range of individuals dealing with tinnitus. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. All levels of tinnitus addressed: Widex Zen Therapy can effectively manage mild to severe cases of tinnitus, making it a versatile solution for individuals across the spectrum.
  2. Correcting hearing loss: Widex hearing aids not only provide exceptional tinnitus management but are also designed to address various levels of hearing loss. Given the strong connection between hearing loss and tinnitus, addressing both issues simultaneously can be beneficial.
  3. Discreet hearing aid options:For those who do not want to show that they are wearing hearing aids, you can load the Widex Zen Therapy program onto a number of discreet Widex hearing aids.

Widex tinnitus solution ZEN is available in most Widex hearing aids – supplemented with the comprehensive tinnitus management program, Widex Zen Therapy (WZT). The models Moment, Evoke, Beyond, and Unique are all compatible with the ZEN app!

When To Seek Medical Advice For Tinnitus?

Tinnitus, in most cases, is a relatively harmless condition. However, there are certain circumstances where seeking medical evaluation for tinnitus becomes crucial. By recognizing specific symptoms associated with tinnitus, individuals can take appropriate action and consult with a medical professional, such as a doctor or an otolaryngologist.

One symptom that warrants medical attention is pulsatile tinnitus of any kind. Pulsatile tinnitus refers to a rhythmic or pulsing sound in the ears, often in sync with the person’s heartbeat. This type of tinnitus may indicate an underlying vascular condition that requires further investigation.

Tinnitus in one ear only is another concerning symptom. While tinnitus typically affects both ears, the presence of tinnitus limited to one ear could suggest an issue with that particular ear, such as an infection or injury. Seeking medical advice can help identify the cause and appropriate treatment options.

Bothersome tinnitus that cannot be ignored should also prompt individuals to seek medical evaluation. If tinnitus becomes persistent, disruptive, and significantly impacts daily life, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on managing the symptoms and explore potential underlying causes.

The association of tinnitus with room-spinning sensations or vertigo is another red flag. Vertigo refers to a spinning or whirling sensation that can cause dizziness and imbalance. When tinnitus occurs alongside these symptoms, it may indicate an underlying condition affecting the inner ear, such as Ménière’s disease. Seeking medical advice is crucial to accurately diagnose and manage such conditions.

Additionally, sudden changes or fluctuations in hearing status accompanied by tinnitus should not be overlooked. If you experience a sudden onset of tinnitus along with a significant decrease or increase in hearing ability, it is essential to consult a medical professional promptly. These changes could be indicative of an underlying issue that requires immediate attention.

To ensure proper diagnosis and appropriate management, individuals experiencing tinnitus with any of these symptoms should discuss their concerns with a doctor or an otolaryngologist. These specialists possess the expertise to evaluate and treat medical conditions related to the head and neck, including the ears. Seeking medical advice when tinnitus presents with these specific symptoms can help identify potential underlying causes and guide the most suitable course of action [6].

Widex Hearing Aids For Tinnitus Takeaway 

In conclusion, living with tinnitus can be challenging, but solutions are available to help manage its impact. Widex hearing aids for tinnitus offer a promising option for tinnitus sufferers, providing relief and improving quality of life. By addressing hearing loss and implementing innovative therapies like Widex Zen Therapy, individuals can find relief from the constant sounds in their ears.

Managing tinnitus involves various strategies, including identifying triggers, considering hearing aids, exploring masking devices, practicing sound masking techniques, engaging in physical activity, and seeking support from online communities. Additionally, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques can help manage negative thoughts associated with tinnitus, while tinnitus retraining therapy can gradually reduce hyperactivity and rewire the brain to create new auditory pathways.

Hearing aids play a crucial role in managing tinnitus, especially for those with coexisting hearing loss. They provide prescriptive amplification, replacing the missing sound input and reducing the prominence of tinnitus. However, a multifaceted approach that combines amplification, prescriptive sound therapy, and counseling is often necessary for comprehensive relief.

When it comes to Widex hearing aids for tinnitus, the Widex Zen Therapy program is a standout feature. It incorporates counseling, amplification, fractal tones, and relaxation techniques to effectively manage tinnitus. The irregular rhythm of fractal tones helps divert attention from constant noise, while relaxation exercises combat stress, a significant trigger for tinnitus. Widex Zen Therapy is suitable for individuals dealing with all levels of tinnitus and offers discreet hearing aid options.

While tinnitus is generally harmless, certain symptoms require medical evaluation. Pulsatile tinnitus, tinnitus in one ear only, bothersome and disruptive tinnitus, and tinnitus accompanied by vertigo or room-spinning sensations should prompt individuals to seek medical advice. Medical professionals can provide accurate diagnoses, explore treatment options, and ensure any underlying conditions are addressed.

By understanding tinnitus, implementing management strategies, considering Widex hearing aids, and seeking medical advice when necessary, individuals can take control of their auditory health and find relief from the burdensome effects of tinnitus. Remember, you are not alone in your journey, and there are solutions available to help you regain a sense of peace and well-being.


References: 

[1] American Tinnitus Association. “Why Are My Ears Ringing?” Retrieved from https://www.ata.org/about-tinnitus/why-are-my-ears-ringing/

[2] Godman, Heidi. “Tips to manage tinnitus.” Harvard Health Letter. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tips-to-manage-tinnitus

[3] Sound Relief. “Hearing Aids for Tinnitus.” Retrieved from https://www.soundrelief.com/hearing-aids-for-tinnitus/

[4] Baguley, David M. “Mechanisms of tinnitus.” In Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Vol. 99, pp. 811-826. Elsevier, 2013.

[5] Hearing Associates of Las Vegas. “Widex Zen Therapy Tinnitus Treatment.” Retrieved from https://hearingassociateslv.com/widex-zen-therapy-tinnitus-treatment/

[6] Harvard Health Publishing. “When should I be concerned about ringing in my ears?” Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/when-should-i-be-concerned-about-ringing-in-my-ears-2020020818855

Eleftheria Georganti
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Eleftheria's world revolves around sound - whether it's designing high-quality audio applications, crunching numbers in audio signal processing (DSP), decoding room acoustics, listening to music or crafting the latest hearing aid technology and new features. She has a professional career spanning over 15 years and a strong research record (over 40 articles and patents) and has been the driving force behind top-notch products at leading hearing aid and audio tech companies. But what really makes her enthusiastic is sharing what she knows. As an avid writer, she loves spreading the word on the science of hearing, hearing aids and health technologies. Her ultimate goal? To give people with hearing impairments the insights they need to live their best life.

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