Buzzing, swooshing and chirping in the ears are common noises heard by those with tinnitus. This ever-present noise can affect concentration, hearing and even sleep. Nearly 50 million people have tinnitus which is often caused by noise exposure. Tinnitus can also occur due to the natural aging process, and there is also a strong link between tinnitus and hearing loss.

“There’s no magic cure that will immediately eliminate tinnitus,” says our audiologist Dr. Gregory King, “but there are ways to help people manage and live with it.” Some common methods of treatment include sound therapy, cognitive therapy and acupuncture. Dr. King has found success in using hearing devices which improve the patient’s ability to hearing by using a masking technique to help minimize the annoyance factor associated with buzzing and ringing.

Advances in technology are helping make the masking technique even easier to access, use and customize. Sound files can now be downloaded to your smart phone. The sound then flows to your hearing device using Bluetooth technology. These additional sounds are used to “mask” or cover up the ringing or other noise so that speech or even music can be heard more clearly. Dr. King compares the technique to a white noise machine that you might use for sleep. Working with your hearing care professional you can also customize and adjust the sounds to make sure they provide maximum relief of your tinnitus symptoms. Many hearing aid manufacturers also have specific hearing aid models and solutions designed to help patients with tinnitus.

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, patients do have options. Dr. King points out that the technology is now here to help alleviate the symptoms for more people. The first step is to make an appointment with a hearing care professional to determine what course of treatment will work best for you. To read more about how technology is changing tinnitus treatment