By Dana Helmink
This article is a part of the March/April 2022, Volume 34, Number 2, Audiology Today issue.
Tinnitus is a persistent problem for many, and its prevalence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (Beukes et al, 2020, Front. Public Health). As a major contributor to tinnitus, stress likely plays a part in this increase, which may create a vicious cycle, with increased stress resulting in more tinnitus distress which in turn increases stress.
Since about 60 percent of people with tinnitus experience some relief when wearing hearing aids (Kochkin and Tyler, 2008, Hearing Review), hearing aid treatment often makes sense. This may alleviate tinnitus by providing missing auditory input and by partially masking the tinnitus sound. However, hearing aid acceptance by those with mild hearing loss can present a clinical challenge and barrier to treatment.
Sound quality is a crucial factor in hearing aid satisfaction (Picou, 2020, Seminars in Hearing) and may be even more important for tinnitus sufferers with mild hearing loss, who are more likely to notice artificial hearing aid sound. Therefore, an ideal solution for this group is the Widex PureSound™ processing, which is targeted toward users with mild to moderate hearing loss and offers superior sound quality by eliminating delay-based distortion present with typical sound processing (Balling and Helmink, 2021, Audiology Practices). In addition, Widex Zen Therapy has a long history of helping tinnitus patients with all degrees of hearing loss through its comprehensive combination of counseling, amplification, and fractal tones. Jointly, these elements offer strong options for tinnitus treatment.