Tinnitus Pitch, Masking, and the Effectiveness of Hearing Aids for Tinnitus Therapy

Discussion in 'Research News' started by erik, Nov 7, 2012.

tinnitus forum
    1. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Tinnitus pitch, masking, and the effectiveness of hearing aids for tinnitus therapy

      Abstract
      Objective: To assess the benefits of hearing aids on tinnitus according to the tinnitus reaction questionnaire, to verify whether the degree of masking provided by the hearing aid influenced the TRQ score, to examine whether the matched tinnitus pitch predicted the effectiveness of hearing aids in masking tinnitus, and to determine whether prescription of high-frequency amplification might be desirable in tinnitus management when tinnitus pitch is high. Design and study sample: A retrospective evaluation of the clinical outcomes of 70 tinnitus patients fitted with hearing aids was undertaken. The primary outcome measure was the TRQ, with a secondary subjective measure of tinnitus masking. Results: Participants who achieved masking with their hearing aids had greater reduction in TRQ scores. Masking was more likely to be achieved when participants had good low-frequency hearing and tinnitus pitch fell into the frequency range of the hearing aids. Conclusions: The results support the use of hearing aids for tinnitus management, and suggest that masking may be a significant contributor to hearing aid success, implying that high-frequency amplification may be effective in high-pitch tinnitus.
       
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    2. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      It has been known for a number of years that hearing aids can help people who have tinnitus associated with hearing loss. By augmenting the lost frequencies, it makes the auditory system more naturally "balanced".

      Trouble is, in the U.S. most insurance companies don't cover the cost of hearing aids. That's something we need to change in this country. Whenever I read that tinnitus is not considered a serious medical problem, it makes me mad. With 50 million tinnitus sufferers in the US, I'm sure insurance companies are worried about the potential expense.
       
    3. Tom Barry

      Tom Barry Member

      Location:
      USA Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      constant since april 2012
      I am getting hearing aids this coming monday. I have severe high freq. loss in both ears over 3000KHertz. I am really hopeful it will quiet it down. If it does I'll post it. And yes Karl they are very expensive. If it works for me I plan on supporting causes to help unsured sufferers afford them.
       
    4. mushari

      mushari Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Is there anything new
       
    5. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      ReSound, makers of hearing aids has come out with a Tinnitus Hearing Aid and Sound generator. Not sure on cost but I am sure expensive.

      Resound Alera TS
       
    6. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Hearing aids are supposed to be very helpful in managing tinnitus and can even help to properly reduce it apparently. Not sure what part masking is in that. Everything you read tells you masking isnt a good idea, maybe hearing aid masking is different.

      The Hearing Specialist I've seen can supply aids which have the sound generation in too. They cost 3,000 GBP. Not something I can afford at the moment.

      I'll be speaking to him about how they help T this Friday and will post anything interesting I find out.
       
    7. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Louise, masking is ok as long as it is done correctly. Masking allows your T to blend in with other sounds so it is not as noticeable because it is not the only sound you hear. Masking is not supposed to totally cover the sound of your T. It should instead be set to a level just below your T, where you can still hear both. The theory is that in time your brain learns to recognize your T as not a threat just like other sounds you hear and the importance of the T sound diminishes.

      The maskers built into hearing aids just make it more convenient for you to mask your tinnitus on the go. The hearing aid amplifies the hearing frequencies you may have lost and the noise generator helps make your tinnitus less noticeable with masking.
       
    8. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Ah, I thought the term 'masking' was the full eradication of the sound by hearing a noise louder than the T to block it out. I know we are supposed to always just be able to hear the T to habituate it. Shame that as I would love to just turn everything up so I never hear it :arghh:
       
    9. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      I hear you loud and clear. I'd love to be rid of this thing. You are correct, you could fully mask your T with noise louder than it for temporary relief but in the long run, you want to mask at a level just below your T, where it helps you to habituate over time.
       
    10. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Yup. Another point on the masking.... apparently if you see your T as a threat then your brain has mechanisms to actually amplify the T so that it can hear it more and therefore monitor the threat better! That's such a kicker.
      So if you mask it out completely all the time then it may just turn it up for you. I am going to check on that likelihood on Friday when I see the Hearing Specialist again. Its one of my top 5 questions for him.
       
    11. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Great let us know how you fare.
       
    12. Tom Barry

      Tom Barry Member

      Location:
      USA Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      constant since april 2012
      Hi all, I did get the hearing aids last Monday. Erik they are the resound alera ts. You can push a button and they generate a white noise. I had the audiologist set the volumn lower than the hissing which is the type of sound I hear. I have preferred rain sounds over white noise to help get to sleep, and still do. I have worn them for a week now and there has been no change in the T, although I can hear people better when I wear them. In that my T was probably caused by age and high frequency hearing loss over years one week is probably not long enough to make a difference, at least I hope so. They are very expensive as you know. I never could have afforded them except I am blessed with a generous insurance coverage for them. I will post again if there is any change in the T.
       
    13. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Thanks for the update Tom. I hope it starts to work for you soon. Hearing better alone should start to make a difference soon. Depending on the severity of your T, it may take some time before you start to notice a difference in that area. It seems that these changes using sound therapies to aid in habituation occurs over many months.
       
    14. mike

      mike Member

      Location:
      Franklin ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      1 1/2 months
      With the tragic Passing of my son. I am stilling staying on this forum. It may help some and it may not. These are the posts I have put on the Forum about my experience with Hearing aids. Hear they are again.



      First Post

      I have the Zen Widex Hearing Aids with Zen Tones to help with Tinnitus. White noise and soft smoothing Bells and charms noises. I can use them amplified or not amplified. I have five different noises with a remote control. The white noise seemed to help me cope with the tinnitus better but it bothers me sometimes too. I don’t need to wear them because I can hear fine. I have high frequency hearing loss. The hearing aids did not help my tinnitus But they did not hurt it either. Cost $5900.00 dollars. Insurance paid the first $3000. Had 30 days to return them.
      I wear them off and on. Sometimes at night when the tinnitus is real loud I will wear them to help sleep with the Soft bell noises. Like I said they did not get rid of the tinnitus. But I did not return them because I felt they helped take the edge off a little. Anything that anybody needs to know just ask me and I will tell you my experiences with them. Everybody is different when it comes to hearing aids or anything else. What may help one person may totally be different for another person.

      Second Post

      No, I still wear them at night and they do help to a certain point. But during the day at work I try not to wear them at all. Sometimes I do wear them at work. They did not get rid of the TINNTIUS BUT THEY DID HELP TO A CERTAIN POINT. Would I do it again and get them. Yes I would. They did help in taking a little bit of the edge off. They are costly. But I really think they were worth it. Ipods and Jims tones he put on this Forum was really a big help also.
       
    15. carlover
      English

      carlover Member Benefactor

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      1986
      Im lucky living inLondon I got my hearing aids free on the NHS (national health service)

      I have high frequency hearing loss ,but would never know.

      I put them in and it knocks out my T by around 80%.

      They are my comforter ,I know they are there if it gets too much.
       
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    16. Blair

      Blair Member

      Location:
      Grants Pass, OR
      Tinnitus Since:
      11-2011
      I've had the Widex Zen for over 4 months, and while it hasn't had any effect on my tinnitus, it certainly has improved
      my quality of life. With the Zen, the tinnitus because barely heard background noise which mostly I just ignore. One more thing. My hearing test definitely showed a hearing loss in the higher frequencies, while the tinnitus ringing
      showed up at the lost frequencies.....Personally, I would have paid ten times what the Widex cost for what it has
      done for my life.​
       
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    17. Tom Barry

      Tom Barry Member

      Location:
      USA Connecticut
      Tinnitus Since:
      constant since april 2012
      Here is an update on the resound alera TS hearing aids. I have been wearing them since nov. They are programed to raise decibles for greater than 3000htz to a normal level. When they are worn I hear much more clearly like when the treble control for an amplifier is increased. It is especially helpful when listening is an enviornment that has a high backround noise. As to the tinitis they haven't as of yet cured it. There is a definite help in masking when there is backround noise like driving or music playing probably due to the increase in decibles of the higher frequency's I am able to hear. In quiet enviorments everything is status quo. It has been 5 months now so I dont believe hearing aids will cure my tinnitis which my audiologist has attributted to high freq. loss. By the way they sell accessories for the devices that allow audio streaming directly to them using blu tooth technology. I have the telephone device. But I could purchase a device for streaming MP3 or TV audio as well. When I can afford to I may buy those.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    18. Elaine

      Elaine Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2009
      Tom, I've seen brochures at my doctor's office for such bluetooth devices. Any idea how much they cost? It appears that they have such devices for use with landline phone, cell phone, and tv audio. Not sure if it is one unit or all individual units. Right now, I still am on "hold" to be set up with hearing aids/maskers as my specialist isn't certain that my hearing loss has peaked. My problem began back in Nov/Dec 2012. At first they thought it was ETD, then sensiorneural hearing loss, then back to ETD, etc. Finally, they kind of gave up thinking it was tinnitus that I couldn't hear. I sought another opinion, and my current specialists thought it was due to my Rheumatalogist experimenting and taking me off both my immune suppressing medications (Methotrexate and Humira) and perhaps an underlying ear problem that was being kept under control before cutting me off "cold turkey". I did see some hearing improvement after going back on these drugs, but now have seen the loss return (all of this only in testing situation and not really making a difference in how I heard speech and all). I went through a time where I experienced bouts of nausea, so I currently am trying a low sodium diet approach to see if this may help by lessening any possible inflamation in the inner ear. I also was placed on a diurectic, but that caused many side effects and dehydrated me. I have had slight tinnitus in my "good ear" since 2009. Not really a problem. I still am experiencing what feels like fullness in my "bad ear" with only occasional times of a buzzing sound. I think this specialist feels that I have some symptoms of Meineire's disease. I've never had any problem with vomiting, spinning sensation, or loss of balance. Lately, it feels as though my good ear is feeling full at times. I still feel as though the nausea may have been due to my Rheumatalogist switching me from Humira to Enbrel for two months. Anyway, I hope that when the time comes, I will be able to hear better with aids/maskers and possible bluetooth devices. Please keep posting as to how this is all working for you.
       
    19. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Hi Tom,

      I just wonder what is the real difference between having the masking sounds (white noise, pink noise etc) on a mp3 player and use a headset compared to those expensive hearing aid objects? I'm using all sorts of masking sounds that I download from the internet, some of them are pretty similar to my T sound.
       
    20. Mahdi
      No Mood

      Mahdi Member

      Location:
      Tehran
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunshot
      What should we do if we hate these different masking noises as much or more than our tinnitus noises themselves !!!!!!!!!!!?????????? Seems no silence and serene life forever.
       
    21. R Green

      R Green Member

      I bought a masker to get though those quiet meetings and concentrate. i use my ipod with a 10 dollar app to take the freq out I have lost and listen to white noise at night to sleep and take mellentonen 3-mg to help sleep at night. I got T from a shot gun blast I was told after 48 hours if its still there for ever. I do like the masker. but of course 2500 dollars isn't a cheep fix.
      I would recomend a masker if your having big problems.
       
    22. Ron Robles
      Insomnious

      Ron Robles Member

      Location:
      Tucson arizona
      Tinnitus Since:
      Sept 4 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      Hello so everybody is more or less saying hearing aids don't really help huh , what a waste of money , I have a appointment Tuesday for hearing aids but my insurance company also does not cover it , My tininites is like paulsating what do you guys think?
       
    23. Michael2013
      Happy

      Michael2013 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2013
      Hearing aids help me because I have hearing loss. Being able to hear more sounds keeps the T quieter. I see two ways hearing aids can potentially help you:

      1. You have hearing loss and by amplifying those frequencies where you have loss, it will prevent/reduce your brain from trying to replace it with T.

      2. Ability to use noise generators and streaming other types of sounds as you need. This was useful for me in my early days because it gave me some sense of control over the ringing. In quiet environments I was able to turn on the noise generators and it gave me something else to focus on. I no longer need them.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    24. Roadglide

      Roadglide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2013
      Have worn hearing aids two years with a higher frequency settings may be 15 decimals higher then prescription helps about 50 percent reduction in tinnitus set at prescription it does nothing for the Tinnitus find a good audiologist that is willing to work with you
       
    25. nills
      Barefooter

      nills Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      have you done MRI with contrast?

      I did an MRI and they saw a vein that makes a loop and pushes down on the 7th nerve which is nerve of hearing... I don`t have pulsatile T (atleast not to the heartbeat) ... but since I know this and read your message it might well be that some bloodvessel is expanding contracting against your hearing nerve causing this pulsatile signal ... I did my MRI and EEG just now in Bangkok and it was a total of 1000 dollars :eek: .. so I hopeyou have money or insurance ...

      ps, vote Bernie! ;)
       
    26. Alue

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Can anything really mask high pitch ~14kHz tinnitus? Anything that's not a dangerous volume that is?

      The only thing I have tried that has come close is crickets, but it doesn't effectively mask it (especially if it's coming from a speaker and not headphones).
       
    27. Dubbyaman
      Angry

      Dubbyaman Member

      Location:
      Northern Indiana
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Excessive loud noise
      • Helpful Helpful x 1

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