Does Tinnitus Cause Hearing Loss?

Does Tinnitus Cause Hearing Loss?

In Hearing Loss, Tinnitus by Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A

Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A

If you’re wondering if your tinnitus is causing hearing loss, there’s a chance that the tinnitus you are experiencing is pretty loud. But is it loud enough to cause hearing loss?

Tinnitus is the experience of hearing noise not triggered by an external sound. Tinnitus noise frequently sounds like some kind of ringing in the ears, but it can also be a buzzing, clicking, roaring, or hissing as well. The noise can differ from a low rumble to an elevated screech in pitch. The noise can be so noisy in some instances that it can disrupt your capacity to focus or hear real noise. Tinnitus can always persistent, or it can be intermittent.

Over the previous year, about one in ten people in the U.S. have encountered tinnitus. And there are almost continual symptoms in more than a third (36 percent) of individuals with tinnitus.

What is hearing loss?

In order to hear correctly, dedicate hair cells in our ear are responsible for picking up sound and converting it into sound signals. These signals are then sent to the brain for processing into something we can understand. Hearing loss however, occurs when sound is unable to reach the part of the brain responsible for processing sound, which means the individual cannot understand it.

There are two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural.

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a blockage of some sort that prevents sound from entering the ear to be picked up by hair cells.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the hair cells themselves, which prevents them from being able to pick up sound normally.

Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?

Tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, but it is often a symptom of hearing loss. Most people who have tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss.

Things that cause hearing loss (and tinnitus) include loud noise, ear nerve damaging drugs (ototoxic drugs), excessive or packed earwax, middle ear issues (such as ear infections and vascular tumors), and getting older.

Although it may be troubling to discover that you might have a hearing loss alongside your tinnitus, the good news is that both are treatable.

Treatments for tinnitus

For patients with chronic tinnitus, there are many well-established therapies.

Cognitive Behavoioral Therapy: Tinnitus can produce powerful, adverse feelings such as anxiety, depression, and rage. Patients can learn to regulate their reactions using cognitive behavioral therapy in order to try to distance tinnitus from negative behavioral responses.

Sound therapy: Tinnitus is an internal sound that is not audible. However, patients can use real external noise to counteract their perception of tinnitus. Sound masking can cover the sound of tinnitus with things like white noise and help you forget it’s there.

Hearing aids: By increasing the ability to hear environmental sounds, you can continue to reduce the perceived volume of tinnitus in your head. Many hearing aids also come with a bank of soothing sounds designed to help you manage your tinnitus symptoms, similar to sound therapy.

Treatments for hearing loss

Many conductive hearing losses can be cured through surgical means. But like tinnitus, there is no surgical cure for sensorineural hearing loss. It can however be successfully managed with the methods below:

Cochlear implants: A cochlear implant circumvents damaged areas of your inner ear and directly stimulates the hearing nerve, unlike a hearing aid that amplifies sound and guides it into your ear canal. It could be useful for those with severe to profound hearing loss, but it does require surgical intervention.

Hearing aids: Hearing aids are the treatment of choice for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. They work by amplifying the sound frequencies that you have lost.

Roseville Diagnostic Hearing Center

As you can see, the only treatment which can be used for both tinnitus and hearing loss is a hearing aid. Are you wondering which device could be right for you? We stock a complete range and also fit them professionally, ensuring you get the absolute best out of them.

We can also help manage your tinnitus using the Levo System, an FDA-cleared neuroscience-based approach to tinnitus management. Contact us today for more information.