Hearing loss is mostly common in people above the age of 55 and is more prevalent in males than females; however, it doesn’t become a problem or severe until well into the 80 and 90 years bracket. Losing the ability to hear is a terrible condition for human beings, especially if it occurs in both ears at the same time; as bad as this may seem, having to deal with tinnitus even further aggravates the problem.
Tinnitus, the condition of hearing strange sounds consistently in a quiet place or even when every other person cannot hear same is not the cause of hearing loss or deafness as many people tend to believe. On the other hand, tinnitus is a symptom, a fallout of hearing loss. This is the fact as it concerns one of the many myths of tinnitus.
The ears are designed to perceive and transport sound into the brain which then interprets the sound rapidly. When hearing loss begins to manifest, the ability of the ear to hear sounds easily and sharply diminishes greatly and because the brain is wired to interpret sounds, it relies on sound coming from the inside of the body for interpretation.
Sounds like heartbeat, vein and artery pulse, muscle contraction, blood flow to and from the brain, etc. These sounds become permanent features for the brain to perceive in place of the original external sounds the ear was supposed to transport to the brain. This is, in a simplistic form, the link between hearing loss and tinnitus.
To further buttress this point, audiologists and otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors or ENTs) have, over the years, observed that the use of hearing aids for patients who suffer from hearing loss or partial deafness greatly reduces, and sometimes, eliminates the tinnitus noise completely. In other words, the more the ears can function in their traditional capacity, the less perceived noise (tinnitus) the fellow would hear.
Also, the treatment of tinnitus in a patient who also suffers from hearing loss or partial deafness without necessarily treating the underlying cause (hearing loss) would yield not fruit. Using tinnitus maskers or sound enrichment devices like external sound generators without first trying to get the ear to hear properly might not eventually be successful as the patient would still keep hearing those noises.
On the other hand, treating hearing loss or partial deafness with pills, hearing aids, and other methods almost always eliminates tinnitus. In the case where it is not eliminated, applying its own unique treatment would go a long way in reducing or totally eradicating it. The correlation between hearing loss and tinnitus is very close but knowing which to treat first is important and crucial to restoring good hearing abilities and completely eliminating unwanted perceived noise.
Tinnitus does not cause hearing loss it is rather a symptom of other underlying conditions of which hearing loss might be one of. Since people aged 55 and above commonly report a case of tinnitus at one time or the other, it is imperative that such people visit a specialist and treat the underlying factor before it gets out of hand.