Does Tinnitus Make It More Difficult to Hear?

Tinnitus is a condition that affects over 50 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A common symptom of tinnitus is a ringing in the ears. However, people with tinnitus may hear a range of sounds. 

Tinnitus can affect anyone. People may experience it temporarily, known as acute tinnitus. Almost 20 million Americans experience chronic tinnitus, where the symptoms are continuous. Most tinnitus symptoms are subjective, meaning that only the sufferer can hear them. 

Tinnitus can be unpleasant, but it’s rarely a sign of anything serious. It is not uncommon for people with hearing loss to experience tinnitus. You can read more about the link between hearing loss and tinnitus here

Common Symptoms of Tinnitus

Tinnitus symptoms can be frustrating. They can disrupt sleep or make it difficult to concentrate. Tonal sounds are almost constant, and the volume can vary. Pulsatile sounds are often in-time with the heartbeat. On infrequent occasions, sounds can involve music or singing, known as Musical Ear Syndrome.  

Some of the commonly reported sounds can include: 

  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Clicking
  • Chirping
  • Whistling

Does Tinnitus Make It More Difficult To Hear?

Can tinnitus 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. 

Researchers found that in people without a hearing loss, tinnitus didn’t impair their ability to hear in noisy situations. As we have already mentioned, it’s not uncommon for people with hearing loss to experience tinnitus. 

As highlighted by the researchers: “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.”

When Should I Speak to A Professional? 

If your tinnitus makes it difficult to hear in noisy environments, we recommend that you book a hearing assessment. Seeking help can improve your quality of life. Your hearing healthcare specialists may recommend hearing aids, which can help reduce symptoms of tinnitus. 
The hearing specialists at Hearing, Balance & Speech Center are here to help you with your hearing needs. If you’d like to book an appointment, please call us today on 203-774-5642 or request an appointment online.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.