Tinnitus: What’s The Noise About?
Tinnitus is a very common complaint among our patients. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, 25 to 50 million people report some degree of tinnitus. In the past year, about 10% of the adult population, or 22.7 million people, describe their tinnitus as lasting for more than 3 months. Of these folks, 16 million seek medical attention for their tinnitus, and up to 2 million have tinnitus that is severe enough to interfere with their lives. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss and can be the first sign of declining hearing. However, tinnitus can also be caused by some medications, neck/back problems, medical changes, and even Cotinine, a substance found in tobacco.
There is currently no “cure” for tinnitus or the underlying sensorineural hearing loss—certainly nothing approved by the FDA. However, there are some devices on the market that can improve or suppress tinnitus. Sound therapy has been used for the treatment of tinnitus for many years. The idea is to introduce outside sound in an effort to reduce the perception of the tinnitus signal. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) creates habituation by introducing sound to reduce the contrast between the tinnitus and background noise. Counseling is important in reinforcing the understanding that tinnitus is benign and neutral rather than a negative or threatening signal. Masking is another form of sound therapy. Unlike TRT, it totally masks the patient’s tinnitus by introducing another acoustic signal. This method is sometimes bothersome to patients as it may introduce sound that is too loud to tolerate for extended periods of time. Partial masking allows for the use of a softer signal, but the patient may still perceive their tinnitus.
Our new AGX: Mutliflex Tinnitus Masker and hearing aid is a device that provides amplification and adjustable tinnitus masking. It not only amplifies sound for the patient, but it introduces a tinnitus-masking sound that can be set up by the patient during the fitting process. AGX: Multiflex Tinnitus Technology was created to address several sound therapy treatments. The technology can provide amplification for those tinnitus sufferers who also have hearing loss. Additionally, it can provide total or partial tinnitus masking with the introduction of an adjustable broadband stimulus. This technology is available in a small receiver-in-the-ear-style hearing device that is comfortable and very flexible. With the introduction of Soundpoint, a great new interactive programming technology, the patient can take an active part in their own tinnitus relief. If you would like to find out if this is a good option for your patient, please have your office contact us to make an appointment for your patient with one of our audiologists for a hearing and tinnitus assessment. In addition, to learn more about the AGX: Multiflex Tinnitus Device click here.