Collin County Living Well Magazine November/December 2017 - Page 45

Tinnitus and Hearing Aids By Elizabeth Brassine, Au.D. T innitus is a ringing, buzzing, humming, hissing or roaring sound that is heard when no external sound is present. Ac- cording to the American Tinnitus Association, about 12 million Americans suffer from severe tinnitus. Many people seek medical attention for their tinnitus. There is a strong relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss. About 20% of people with hearing loss have tinnitus and about 90% of patients with severe tinnitus have hearing loss. There are countless tinnitus treatments available, many of them controversial and with little or no information about their effective- ness. Treatment options include: acupuncture, bedside maskers to help with sleep (most tinnitus sufferers wi ll report their tinnitus being more pronounced at night due to the environment being quieter), biofeedback and tinnitus retraining, hearing aids (which can mask the tinnitus in addition to treating the hearing loss), medication (in- cluding anti-depressant drugs) and tinnitus maskers. Tinnitus can be disturbing and upsetting, leading some individu- als from specialist to specialist in search for help. Unfortunately, most individuals are told “there’s nothing that can be done to help. You’ll just have to live with it.” Many individuals with hearing loss and tinnitus don’t seek help because they mistakenly believe their tinnitus prevents successful use of hearing aids. The majority of hearing aid users report just the opposite: hearing aids can help both their hearing and their tinnitus. Tinnitus treatment may include medical and audiologic evalua- tion, information, reassurance, counseling and treatment. Coun- seling can include recommendations about lifestyle. Lowering intake of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, minimizing noise expo- sure and getting moderate amounts of exercise can help alleviate awareness of tinnitus. Counseling can also review the many op- tions available. For many of those with tinnitus, simply knowing that treatment options are available can be helpful. According to a survey of 230 hearing care professionals, 60% of their patients found that using hearing aids significantly reduced their tinnitus. Less than 2% reported that hearing aids made it worse. Several surveys of hearing aid users also found that hear- ing aids are effective in significantly reducing tinnitus complaints. The researchers concluded: “Persons with hearing loss and tin- nitus should strongly consider amplification.” Elizabeth Brassine is a Doctor of Audiology and the owner of Hearing Services of McKinney. HEARING SERVICES of M c Kinney Better Hearing Keeps You Connected! • Staffed by 2 Licensed, Doctors of Audiology • Hearing Aid Fittings, Maintenance and Repairs • Invisible Fittings/Open Fittings • Evaluation Period On All Hearing Aids • Hearing Evaluations For All Ages • Wireless/Connectivity Hearing Solutions • Battery Purchase Programs “After 10 years of training hearing • Custom Ear Protection professionals, I decided to come home • Assistive Devices to McKinney to do what I love most-helping the hearing impaired”. • 26 Years of Experience Liz Brassine, Au.D. Locally Owned and Operated Financing Options Available Mon-Fri: 8:30am- 5:00pm Other times available by appt. 972.838.1300 4201 Medical Center Dr, Suite 270 Across from Medical Center of McKinney LIZ BRASSINE, Au.D. DOCTOR OF AUDIOLOGY COLLIN COUNTY Living Well Magazine | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 43