Estimations tell us that over 90% of individuals with tinnitus also experience hearing loss. However, hearing loss does not directly cause tinnitus. Indeed, tinnitus is not a medical condition in itself but rather a symptom of other disorders or diseases. Today, there are over 200 conditions and drugs that might cause tinnitus as a side effect. Nonetheless, one of the most common underlying conditions that make tinnitus noticeable is hearing loss. 

The two conditions might be connected, but you can also only experience tinnitus without hearing loss – if this is derived from another cause. If you wish to understand more about this relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss, your hearing specialist will be able to help you understand more. 

Does hearing loss cause tinnitus?

Hearing loss is not the cause behind tinnitus, but both conditions can stem from hair cell damage. Hair cell damage happens when the sound-sensitive cells in the inner ear are broken or bent. This can happen due to aging, exposure to loud noises or hearing trauma. Depending on what factors have damaged the hair cells, you might experience noise-induced hearing loss or age-related hearing loss. 

As the cells inside the ear become damaged, their functionalities might decline. In turn, this can disrupt the signals they send to the brain and cause the spasms that trigger tinnitus. Ultimately, both hearing loss and tinnitus can derive from these cells’ damage. 

Tinnitus and hearing loss

As we have seen, it is not hearing loss that causes tinnitus. However, there is a connection between the two.

There are several phantom noises and sounds that you can hear if you have tinnitus. However, these generally follow the same pattern of your hearing loss. For example, if you are struggling to hear low-frequency sounds, the tinnitus is likely to be a low-pitch noise. Oppositely, if you can’t hear high-frequency sounds, you might find that your tinnitus appears as high-pitched ringing and clicking. 

In the same way, if your hearing loss is only in one ear, you are likely to experience tinnitus in that same ear only.

Can hearing aids help tinnitus?

Depending on the triggering cause, you might need to find a different solution for tinnitus. However, if it is related to hearing loss, hearing aids can help you cut out phantom noises and focus on important sounds – such as the voice of your interlocutor. 

Hearing aids, as well as certain therapies, allow you to reduce the prominence of tinnitus. Other techniques that might help you include retraining your brain to focus on certain sounds. 

Learn more by visiting your hearing instrument specialist

With over 200 potential triggering causes, tinnitus is a common symptom that over 50 million adults in the US alone are experiencing. If you are looking to find a solution and live a tinnitus-free life, it is crucial to understand which underlying condition is causing it. Visiting your hearing instrument specialist can help you determine the condition that is triggering the tinnitus and find the right solution for your needs is.