Coping with Hearing Loss & Tinnitus

Hearing loss and tinnitus both affect roughly one in five people in Plano.

These individuals face challenges when it comes to following conversations.

For the unlucky ones who suffer from both, coping on a daily basis is even more difficult.

When Tinnitus & Hearing Loss Cause Problems

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Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand in hand; there is a lot of overlap between the two, and tinnitus sufferers – already burdened by poor sleep, stress and anxiety, and problems with concentration and memory – have it doubly bad when they must also deal with hearing loss.

That ringing in the ears can become even more troublesome and difficult to control, given that most of the traditional strategies recommended for coping with tinnitus involve sound – problematic when contending with a hearing impairment.

Compounding matters is the fact that tinnitus has no cure.

That doesn’t mean you have to grimace and bear it, however; your Plano audiologist has some strategies that can help you cope when you are dealing with both tinnitus and hearing loss.

Make sure to do the following:

  • See an audiologist. Before doing anything else, see an audiologist. A hearing specialist will determine the type and severity of your hearing loss by administering a hearing exam that will allow them to pinpoint the specific frequencies affected and recommend a hearing aid that specifically targets those areas. They may even be able to treat your tinnitus if the cause is something simple, such as excess earwax or the side effect of a drug you have been prescribed. If not, they can still recommend strategies based on the severity of your tinnitus.
  • Wear hearing aids. The majority of people with hearing loss in Plano benefit from wearing hearing aids. These are designed to boost the volume of sounds in your listening environment, providing you with the ability to hear more effectively. Hearing aids don’t only help restore the frequencies affected by your hearing impairment – they can also be used to help you treat tinnitus. Turning up the volume on your aids and boosting background sounds can help mask the ringing in your ears, making your tinnitus less noticeable. Many hearing aids even come with features designed for people with tinnitus, such as white noise, music or nature sounds – all of which serve to lower the perceived volume of your tinnitus, helping your brain habituate to it so it becomes less noticeable.
  • Learn to relax…literally. Stress can cause tinnitus to flare up, making symptoms worse. Learning to relax will help calm you down and quiet the ringing in your ears. Try home remedies such as a hot bath before bedtime, giving yourself a trigger point massage using a tennis ball or foam roller and trying progressive muscle relaxation, a technique that involves tensing and then relaxing different groups of muscles for 10-20 seconds at a time, beginning with your toes and working your way up to your head. Another helpful trick is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise:
    • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth.
    • Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
    • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four.
    • Hold your breath and count to seven.
    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound and counting to eight.
    • Repeat the cycle three more times.
  • Get rid of tinnitus triggers. For many people, tinnitus waxes and wanes, much like the moon and tides. It will come on strong, level off and then increase in intensity and volume – and never when you expect it to. Try keeping a journal charting things like diet, exercise, lifestyle and environment to help pinpoint potential tinnitus triggers. If you are able to identify those, take the steps necessary to reduce their influence on your life.

Your Plano audiologist can provide you with more tips for coping with tinnitus and hearing loss. Schedule an appointment today if you’d like additional information.

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Our Plano Audiologist Office Location

4012 W Park Blvd
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-0943