Does Tinnitus Make It More Difficult to Hear?

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that over 50 million Americans are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus is also known as ringing in the ears, however people report hearing a range of sounds. Buzzing, ringing, hissing, whistling and roaring are just a few sounds that people with tinnitus report.

Anyone, at any age, can be affected by tinnitus. Some people experience what is known as “acute tinnitus.” Acute tinnitus only affects people temporarily. People who experience continuous tinnitus have what is known as “chronic tinnitus.” It’s estimated that close to 20 million Americans experience chronic tinnitus.

Most types of tinnitus are subjective, meaning only the person with tinnitus can hear the sounds. Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have an underlying hearing loss, the Hearing Health Foundation reports.

Common Questions About Tinnitus

If you’ve ever experienced symptoms of tinnitus, you may have some questions. Here are some of the more common causes that hearing healthcare professionals are asked about the condition.

What Causes Tinnitus?

There is currently no known, definitive cause of tinnitus. Instead, tinnitus is often triggered by an underlying condition. The most common conditions to trigger tinnitus include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Noise
  • Obstruction in the ear
  • Medication

What Are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?

People with tinnitus report a range of symptoms. The sounds reported can vary. For some people, the tinnitus is more of a constant, dull sound. For others, it can be loud, distracting, and disruptive to our day-to-day life. The most commonly reported sounds associated with tinnitus include:

  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Whooshing
  • Clicking

Is Tinnitus Treatable?

Tinnitus treatments often include addressing the underlying health condition. 90% of people with tinnitus have a hearing loss. Treating the hearing loss can help alleviate / minimize tinnitus symptoms.

Does Tinnitus Make It More Difficult To Hear?

Given how intrusive symptoms of tinnitus can be for some sufferers, you may wonder if tinnitus can make it more difficult to hear. Research carried out by the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and the Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center who are located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands aimed to answer this.

According to their research, in people without any hearing loss, tinnitus didn’t affect their ability to hear in noisy situations. As noted above, up to 90% of people with tinnitus also have an underlying hearing loss.

The researchers highlighted: “When one has tinnitus in addition to hearing loss, hearing in more difficult listening situations is worse, even though the difference is small. However, if one only has tinnitus, hearing in a more difficult listening situation is unaffected.”

Have a Question? Contact Us Today!

If tinnitus is affecting your ability to hear, we recommend booking an appointment with your local hearing healthcare clinic. They will be able to carry out a hearing assessment, to determine if you have an underlying hearing loss. At Anderson Audiology, our hearing specialists would be happy to help. Call us today on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.

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