How Is Hearing Loss Connected to Tinnitus?

August 1st, 2014 by Deric Peterson, Au.D.


What is tinnitus?

Throughout a busy week, numerous patients ask about tinnitus and treatments. The word tinnitus is derived from the Latin word for ringing. It is the perception of a sound that isn’t really there. This sound is often described as a ringing, buzzing, or hissing.

Tinnitus affects around 10%–15% of the U.S. population. Around half of those with tinnitus are actually bothered by it; they have it so badly that it affects their ability to concentrate or even hear. Tinnitus can oftentimes be a symptom of hearing loss. Of those who are affected by hearing loss and the presence of tinnitus, many do not seek treatment for either condition. A possible reason for this is that throughout history, there has been very little, if anything, that could be done to treat tinnitus. This belief is still held by many today, both within and outside of the medical community.

What can be done?

Today’s treatments for hearing loss are very effective in helping to minimize or reduce the consequences of untreated hearing concerns. These can include fatigue, stress, depression, social isolation, reduced memory, and mental sharpness. Hearing aids have not only  been found to treat hearing loss, but can also be a first step in the treatment of tinnitus. In a study involving hearing professionals treating patients with hearing loss and tinnitus, 60% of patients treated with hearing technology reported relief from tinnitus. Of that 60%, 40% reported moderate to major relief.

Unfortunately, there is no cure  yet, but with the advancing technology of hearing aids, there may be some relief. If you or a loved one have questions about tinnitus, or would like to take advantage of a free hearing test, please contact your local AudigyCertified™ audiologist today!

Deric Peterson, Au.D.

About Deric Peterson, Au.D.

I was born and raised in West Central Minnesota and received my Bachelor of Science in communication disorders from Minnesota State University–Mankato. From there I went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in audiology from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. I completed my doctoral externship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center–Fairview and gained valuable experience seeing patients of all ages, which involved several different aspects of audiology.