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Prog Brain Res. 2007;166:341-5.

Hearing aids for the treatment of tinnitus.

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  • 1Associazione Ascolta e Vivi, Via Foppa 15, 20144, Milan, Italy. delbo@sordita.it

Abstract

Clinical evidence shows that the use of hearing aids in tinnitus patients provides two benefits: it makes the patient less aware of the tinnitus and it improves communication by reducing the annoying sensation that sounds and voices are masked by the tinnitus. Hearing loss reduces stimulation from external sounds resulting in increased awareness of tinnitus and deprivation of input may change the function of structures of the auditory pathways. Tinnitus is often caused by expression of neural plasticity evoked by deprivation of auditory input. With hearing aid amplification, external sounds can provide sufficient activation of the auditory nervous system to reduce the tinnitus perception and it may elicit expression of neural plasticity that can reprogram the auditory nervous system and thereby have a long-term beneficial effect on tinnitus by restoring neural function. To obtain the best results, hearing aids should be fitted to both ears, use an open ear aid with the widest amplification band, and disabled noise reducing controls. In some cases a combination device would be preferable. The conditions required in order to obtain good results include not only the use of devices, but above all, their adaptation to the needs of the single patient, by counseling and customization. Wearing the hearing aid must become second nature to the patient even though it is only one element of the therapy.

PMID:
17956798
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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