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Hearing Aids Offer Hope for Those Who Suffer from Persistent 'Ringing in the Ears,' Better Hearing Institute Survey Finds
Date:1/21/2009

"In severe cases it can interfere with the individual's ability to perform adequately on the job, or contribute to psychological disorders such as depression, suicide ideation, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and anger."

Despite the high prevalence of tinnitus and the disruption it can cause, only a small number of sufferers contact their physicians or an audiologist for help. One reason is they mistakenly believe tinnitus is untreatable. Many physicians, who are not well-educated on tinnitus or on the latest treatment options, compound the problem by inappropriately telling their patients who complain of tinnitus to just go home and learn to live with it.

"No one should ever ignore persistent tinnitus," Kochkin said. "Not only is every individual entitled to a chance to regain their quality of life, but in rare cases tinnitus also can be a symptom of a more serious health issue that could demand medical intervention. What's more, nearly everyone with tinnitus has hearing loss as well."

In a recent large-scale survey by the BHI of the U.S. hearing-impaired population, who had neglected their hearing loss, 39% indicated they had not sought help for their hearing loss specifically because they concurrently had tinnitus.

"Research shows that untreated hearing loss has its own negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects on the individual suffering from it," Kochkin added. "So the individual with both untreated tinnitus and untreated hearing loss suffers an even more diminished quality of life than individuals with just tinnitus or just hearing loss."

Experts believe that hearing aids can help tinnitus by improving communication and reducing stress, thereby making it easier to accept or cope with the condition. What's more, by amplifying background sound or producing background ambient noise, hearing aids are believed to reduce the loudness or prominence of
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SOURCE Better Hearing Institute
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