Tinnitus is a phantom ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, buzzing or humming sound with no external sound source. Approximately 50 million Americans experience tinnitus in one way or another. Not only can the perceived noise sound different to each person, it can affect one ear or both and range from a mild nuisance to a debilitating experience.
New research shows that tinnitus is even worse for those who have hearing loss.
About the Study
The study, entitled “A comparison of the severity of tinnitus in patients with and without hearing loss using the tinnitus functional index (TFI),” was published in the International Journal of Audiology in March of this year.
The purpose of the study was to compare the severity of tinnitus in patients with and without hearing loss.
Researchers worked with 73 patients at an audiology clinic in Amman, Jordan who experienced tinnitus. The participants were assigned to one of two groups according to their hearing abilities.
Severity of the tinnitus was evaluated using the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) questionnaire. The patients were interviewed, then underwent an otoscopic exam, pure tone audiometry testing and testing for admittance and tinnitus matching.
Among the group with normal hearing, a total of 34 participants, TFI scores are broken down as follows:
- 17 experienced mild annoyance.
- 14 experienced significant annoyance.
- 3 experienced severe annoyance.
The group with sensorineural hearing loss, a total of 39 participants, is broken down below:
- 11 experienced mild annoyance.
- 12 experienced significant annoyance.
- 16 experienced severe annoyance.
According to researchers, “A statistically significant association was found between hearing status and severity of tinnitus… Tinnitus severity was significantly worse in tinnitus patients with a hearing loss than tinnitus patients with normal hearing thresholds.”
While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are options for managing symptoms.
- Hearing aids can be used to “turn up” the volume of other sounds in your environment, which is effective for masking tinnitus sounds.
- Masking devices achieve a similar effect; they are more often used by people with tinnitus who don’t have an accompanying hearing loss.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) combines sound masking and professional counseling to help you overcome tinnitus.
If you’re tired of feeling like you’re standing under the bell tower at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, there is hope. Contact the tinnitus experts at Hearing Center of Lake Charles today.