Perception of tinnitus (or any sound in your ears that does not come from the environment around you) is very common and often not a cause for concern. Roughly 45 million Americans experience tinnitus, 26% of which perceive it constantly. When tinnitus is first noticed, it is important to seek an evaluation from an audiologist to rule out any negative health factors that could be the cause. For most, tinnitus is a direct response to untreated hearing loss.
To explain where this perception comes from, we must remember that the hearing system is constantly receiving signals from both ears from the time you are born until the present. This process occurs even when you are not thinking about it or “trying to hear.” The part of your brain that interprets sounds enters on the subconscious level (meaning it cannot be controlled). That’s why even when you’re asleep, you will still wake up to a sound.
As we live, the hearing system becomes damaged. When the hearing system is damaged, or you have an untreated hearing loss, your brain is not receiving auditory input signals like it is used to. To compensate, your brain will amplify its electrical activity and “try much harder” to locate the sounds it is missing, thus, generating a tinnitus perception.
As you perceive the tinnitus, it becomes “a vicious cycle.” As humans, we are taught to focus on the strange sounds, analyze them, and figure out or solve the problem. With tinnitus, this is not the case. The more attention you pay to the tinnitus perception, the more “important” your brain perceives the sound. As it is perceived as more important, the perceived loudness can continue to increase.
The treatment for this is to break this “vicious cycle” and discontinue the “bothersome” aspect of the tinnitus. Wearing a hearing aid to provide the auditory input that your brain has been missing will attempt to “teach your brain” how to hear the frequencies again and, over time, eliminate the bothersome tinnitus perception.
Studies show that people utilizing hearing aids fitted by hearing health professionals are nearly twice as likely to experience tinnitus relief.
There are several other forms of treatment for this bothersome perception, depending on the sound you perceive and the degree to which it affects your life.
To speak with our audiologists further about treatment options for you specifically, call us today at (765) 588-1231 to see how we can help you. We look forward to hearing from you!
 American Tinnitus Association. (2016, December 14). Demographics. Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts/demographics
 The Hearing Review. (2008, December). Tinnitus Treatment and the Effectiveness of Hearing Aids: Hearing Care Professional Perceptions. Retrieved from https://www.hearingreview.com/practice-building/practice-management/tinnitus-treatment-and-the-effectiveness-of-hearing-aids-hearing-care-professional-perceptions