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Tinnitus and hearing loss together

Can you have multiple hearing issues at once?

Our bodies are made up of incredibly interconnected systems—especially our ears. If you’re experiencing a complaint with your hearing, it often doesn’t exist on its own—people may experience a variety of complaints, like tinnitus and hearing loss, at the same time. Explore how these conditions interact, how one can affect the other, and how to manage multiple hearing complaints at the same time. 

What is tinnitus?

If you hear a buzzing or ringing in your ears, you’re likely experiencing tinnitus, a sensation of perceiving sounds that cannot be heard by others. While most people experience brief periods of ringing in their ears at some point (like after going to a loud concert), some deal with long-term tinnitus symptoms. There are three types of tinnitus: subjective, objective and pulsatile.

  • Subjective tinnitus can only be perceived by the person who is experiencing it and can be heard in one or both ears. It’s the most common type of tinnitus, affecting approximately 99% of people with tinnitus.
  • Objective tinnitus is rare, accounting for about 1% of tinnitus cases. This type of tinnitus can also be detected externally by other people. Objective tinnitus is not always associated with  hearing loss—in most cases, it’s a symptom of a disorder or abnormality in blood flow or potentially a neurological disorder.
  • Pulsatile tinnitus, also known as pulse synchronous tinnitus, is a very rare form of tinnitus that’s synced to the heartbeat. It is perceived by the affected person as thumping, whooshing or pulsing sounds and is associated with conditions that disrupt blood flow, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.

Tinnitus itself is not a disease—rather, it’s a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Numerous conditions can cause tinnitus, so it’s important to consult a medical professional if you’re experiencing it. While anyone can develop tinnitus, some factors could increase your risk:

  • Regular exposure to loud noises caused by work or hobbies
  • Aging
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Certain health conditions
  • Certain medications

Tinnitus symptoms are primarily sounds you “hear” without external noise. Some of the noises tinnitus sufferers describe include:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Humming
  • Pulsing
  • Whooshing

The sound you hear correlates to the type of tinnitus you have. A number of health conditions are often pointed to as tinnitus causes:

  • Hearing loss: Regular exposure to loud sounds can damage the delicate cells in your ears that help move signals to your brain. That damage causes electrical signals to misfire in your  brain, resulting in tinnitus.
  • Ear infection or blockage: An excess of earwax, dirt or fluids can disrupt the pressure in your ear and cause tinnitus.
  • Ototoxic medications: Certain medications can cause or worsen tinnitus symptoms. Not all medications affect every user in the same way, so talk to your doctor before starting medication about potential side effects on your hearing.
  • Chronic health conditions: Some chronic conditions can cause tinnitus, such as Meniere's disease, TMJ disorders, diabetes, thyroid conditions and high blood pressure.
  • Physical abnormalities or dysfunction: The malformation of ear structures, muscles or bones in and around the ear can disrupt the natural flow of blood, fluid or sound, resulting in tinnitus.
Hearing aids and tinnitus

Treating types of tinnitus

Regardless of which type of tinnitus you may experience, it can be a frustrating symptom to live with. Luckily, several treatment options are available to help manage your tinnitus, including hearing aids. If you think you suffer from tinnitus, schedule an appointment at your nearest Miracle-Ear location today.

Can tinnitus cause hearing loss?

While tinnitus is an uncomfortable and annoying sensation that can disrupt your hearing, tinnitus itself doesn’t cause hearing loss

Is tinnitus a sign of hearing loss?

If you’re experiencing tinnitus symptoms, hearing loss could be a factor. Tinnitus is sometimes an early sign that you’re experiencing a decline in your hearing.

While there is no cure, there are strategies to manage symptoms and find relief for tinnitus.

  • Relaxation techniques: Stress and frustration can exacerbate tinnitus and make the ringing seem more noticeable. Practice techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises to ease stress.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: For some, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be a useful method for learning to ignore tinnitus.
  • Lifestyle changes: Tinnitus is often linked to underlying conditions related to blood flow. Avoid smoking, drinking and unhealthy diets, and do regular cardiovascular activity in a heart-healthy lifestyle that helps curb tinnitus.
  • Masking tools: White noise machines and some apps generate gentle background noise that masks the ringing in your ears.
  • Avoid loud noises: To prevent your tinnitus from getting worse, use high-quality earplugs in loud environments and keep the volume low when using earbuds.
HCP at store

Care for your ears

One of the best ways to care for your ears and prevent hearing loss is to get them properly examined by a hearing professional. Find your nearest Miracle-Ear store to get started on your journey to better hearing.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss varies in cause and severity, but in all cases, it refers to a reduced ability to perceive sounds. And while it affects everyone differently, it can be broken down into three main types of hearing loss . By getting to know the types of hearing loss, it’s easier to understand what you are experiencing.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when there is a disruption with in the functioning of the inner ear or the neural pathways that connect to it. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and is permanent. In most cases, it’s caused by aging or repeated exposure to loud sounds, also known as noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Conductive hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss is a hearing impairment caused by blockages in the outer or middle ear that disrupt sound reaching the inner ear. The blockages might be fluid buildup, earwax or foreign objects.
  • Mixed hearing loss: As the name implies, mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. 

There are numerous causes of hearing loss:

  • Inner ear damage: The most common cause is damage to the delicate hair cells of the inner ear that aid in the brain’s processing of sound; various medications, aging and loud noise can damage these cells permanently.
  • Ear infection: Regular infections, or the buildup of fluid in the middle ear, can cause hearing loss.
  • Genetic causes: Some congenital conditions are the cause of hearing loss from birth.
  • Chronic health conditions: Some health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and more, can contribute to hearing loss.
  • Earwax buildup: Earwax can create a blockage  in the ear canal, preventing soundwaves from passing through to the middle ear.

Think you’re experiencing hearing loss? If these occurrences are common in your daily life, you may have some degree of hearing impairment. Signs of hearing loss include:

  • Regularly turning the TV or radio volume up to the point that it becomes a nuisance for others;
  • Difficulty understanding what is being said and regularly misinterpreting conversation;
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves or resorting to smiling and nodding;
  • Experiencing tinnitus;
  • Struggling to listen in a crowded or loud environment;

This is not an exhaustive list of all hearing loss symptoms, but if any of these common symptoms apply to you, book an appointment with a licensed hearing care professional to test your hearing.

Depending on the type of hearing loss you are experiencing, there are many hearing loss treatment options available. If you are experiencing sensorineural hearing loss, your doctor will likely recommend prescriptive hearing aids selected and programmed to meet your hearing loss needs and your lifestyle.

More severe hearing loss might be eligible for treatment with a cochlear implant. Bone conduction hearing aids, which are used for permanent conductive type hearing losses are another option. Bone conduction hearing aids amplify sounds via vibrations through the head when worn on a headband or on the skin directly.

While medical solutions are the most effective way to manage hearing loss, there are practical lifestyle changes you can make to avoid worsening hearing loss.

  • Reduce your exposure to loud noise: Turn down the volume of your TV, opt for quieter home products and take breaks from loud noises whenever possible.
  • Invest in proper ear protection:  Use protective products anytime you know you’ll be exposed to loud noise. Hearing protection that is custom-molded and creates an air-tight seal in your ear canal.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Vitamin-rich foods can benefit your hearing. Prioritize foods with vitamins like magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and folate; learn more here.

Can hearing aids help manage tinnitus and hearing loss?

Because hearing loss and tinnitus are interconnected, people living with both can find relief in hearing aids. Miracle-Ear hearing aids include several tinnitus treatment therapy programs, including static noise, ocean waves and Notch therapy, giving you options that distract from the ringing in your ears.

At the same time, your hearing aids can be programmed to address your hearing loss and help you navigate the world around you with ease. With the guidance of your hearing care professional (HCP), you can find a hearing loss solution that addresses both concerns.

Hearing aids shown in a Miracle-Ear center

Miracle-Ear Hearing Aids for Tinnitus

Finding relief from tinnitus can be life-changing. Miracle-Ear’s wide range of hearing aid styles—controlled easily and discreetly from our app—offers the solutions you need.

Coping with hearing loss and tinnitus emotionally

Living with tinnitus and hearing loss can take a toll on people who have both conditions. Tinnitus often comes with frustration and annoyance at the constant ringing in the ears, and hearing loss can lead to feelings of exasperation by not being able to join conversations as you once did. This can lead to social isolation, loneliness and general discomfort.

Despite these challenges, with the right treatment and mindset, there is help. The most important thing to remember as you seek solutions is to maintain a positive outlook and take an active role in managing your hearing. There are ways to address your questions,  frustrations and challenges, and your HCP is ready to help you navigate any questions you may have. It may seem like an overwhelming process to find relief, but there are solutions  to assist to hear comfortably and confidently.

If you have noticed symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus, schedule your free appointment at your local Miracle-Ear today to test your hearing.

Find tinnitus relief today

If you experience tinnitus, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or hearing instrument specialist about how you can best manage the symptoms.

Read more related content

Learn more on how your hearing works from our experts. You can also check out our blog, with our latest news.

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