Earlens has not been studied as a treatment for tinnitus and is not indicated to treat tinnitus. However, hearing aids more broadly have been shown to provide tinnitus relief in some patients.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, impacts one third of all adults at some point in their lives.* The exact causes of tinnitus remain unknown, although tinnitus is strongly connected to some level of hearing loss, which can be the result of age, long-term hearing damage, or other trauma to the hearing system. Other conditions associated with tinnitus include loud noise exposure, stress, hypertension, smoking and too much caffeine.
To treat tinnitus, you should see an audiologist. Tinnitus cannot be directly measured. However, an audiologist can test your hearing to determine if you have a hearing loss that may be contributing to your tinnitus, assess the impact of your tinnitus on your life, and suggest treatment options. Hearing aids have been found to provide tinnitus relief for some patients. A 2008 survey of hearing professionals found that 60% of patients reported some relief of their tinnitus when using hearing aids, with 22% reporting “major relief” of their tinnitus when using hearing aids.**
Why can hearing aids be effective in treating tinnitus? Hearing aids can increase the volume of external sounds to help cover or mask the ringing in the ears. This makes it more difficult to consciously perceive tinnitus so that the brain can focus on other sounds instead. The masking impact of hearing aids can be especially effective for patients whose hearing loss is in the same frequency range as their tinnitus.*** Similarly, sound machines and hearing aids with built-in tinnitus masking can help alleviate tinnitus in quiet environments.
If you suffer from tinnitus, make an appointment with an audiologist. He or she can help you better understand tinnitus and discuss tinnitus management options.
* Kochkin S, Tyler R, Born J. (2011) MarkeTrak VIII: The Prevalence of Tinnitus in the United States and the Self-Reported Efficacy of Various Treatments. Hearing Review18(12):10-26.
**Kochkin and Tyler. “Tinnitus Treatment and the Effectiveness of Hearing Aids: Hearing Care Professional Perceptions”, The Hearing Review, December 1, 2008.
***American Tinnitus Association
Follow us on Twitter: