New Study Finds Hearing Aids Can Help Tinnitus Sufferers

By Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D., Director, Advanced Hearing Center, Englewood, FL

SWF Health and Wellness MagazineWhat do Barbra Streisand, Pete Town-send and William Shatner have in common?

They all suffer from tinnitus, a condition commonly known as a ringing in the ears. And they are not alone. According to a recent study* by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), 10% of the U.S. population, or approximately 30 million people, suffer from chronic tinnitus — and the effects can be devastating.

Devastating Effects of Tinnitus

For example, Barbra Streisand attributes her volatile temperament to tinnitus and William Shatner, who acquired tinnitus after exposure to a loud stage explosion on the set during the filming of an episode of Star Trek, says it contributed to the breakup of his second marriage and almost caused him to commit suicide. Pete Townsend of the Who is completely deaf in one ear as the result of drummer Keith Moon blowing up his drum set on stage in the early 60’s. “I have severe hearing damage,” states Townsend. “It’s manifested itself as tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play guitar. It hurts, it’s painful and it’s frustrating.”**

Effective Therapies Available

“The good news is there are effective therapies available to help people cope,” said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director and co-author of the study. “In particular, we found that a variety of sound therapies and/or hearing aids in conjunction with counseling can help. In fact, 3.5% of survey respondents with tinnitus were helped at least mildly with hearing aids. And 3 out of 10 were helped moderately-to-substantially. For those whose audiologist used “best practices”

Psychological Effects of Tinnitus

As demonstrated by the testimony of the famous people mentioned above, tinnitus can also have severe psychological effects. The BHI study backs this up with results that show while 39% of tinnitus sufferers say it affects their ability to hear, 26% say it affects their ability to concentrate, 20% report reduced ability to sleep, 12% say their tinnitus affects their leisure activities, personal relationships and emotional or mental health and 7% report that tinnitus affects their ability to work. The study also revealed a bombshell. According to Kochkin, “What surprised us was the large number of people—13 million—who reported tinnitus but no hearing loss. That indicates the population with hearing loss is much larger than we previously believed.”

Identifying Treatment Strategies that Offer Relief

Richard Tyler, Ph.D., study co-author and professor in both the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa in Iowa City stated, “Unfortunately, relatively few people seek help for their tinnitus. We need to raise awareness that effective therapies are available. Many audiologists have attended a ‘tinnitus management’ seminar I organize each September, and I know there are many experienced tinnitus health professionals ready to help and offer a full evaluation. They can help identify treatment strategies most likely to offer relief. In particular, they will be able to determine if hearing aids can help.”

Thorough Diagnostic Evaluation and Recommended Tinnitus Treatment

So if you experience ringing in the ears, please give us a call at our Englewood office at 941-474-8393. We will conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation of your hearing and recommend the tinnitus treatment most appropriate for you. As usual, we promise to give you our unbiased, professional opinion without a sales pitch, gimmicks, or hidden agendas.

PROFESSIONAL BIO Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D., owner and practicing audiologist at Advanced Hearing Solutions in Englewood, FL is an experienced professional whose career has been devoted to helping people of all ages hear and understand more clearly. With over 23 years of experience, Dr. Crosby’s career path is marked by the pursuit of advanced education. After completing her undergraduate requirements, she received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Florida State University and her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida. Her credibility as an authority grew during her tenure as the Director of Audiology at the Silverstein Institute in Sarasota, FL from 1991-1998. Today, in addition to managing a successful audiology practice, Dr. Crosby just completed her second term as president of The Florida Academy of Audiology.

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