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School of Medicine
Hearing Loss: Answers from the Listening Center Experts and Kim Webster
One in five Americans is affected by hearing loss, but there are many different causes and treatment options for hearing loss patients.
Q: What causes ringing in the ears?
A: There are many causes of tinnitus also known as ringing, buzzing or chirping in your ears. A history of hearing loss, certain medications, stress, and food triggers can worsen tinnitus. There are many food triggers that could worsen tinnitus and each person is different. Red wine, salt, chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes and certain cheeses have been reported.
Q: How is tinnitus treated?
A: There's no cure for tinnitus, but if hearing loss is involved, a hearing aid or cochlear implant can cover up the ringing during the day. Eliminating food and stress triggers and altering the offending medication, can relieve some tinnitus or lower the volume.
Q: What is the difference between hearing aids and a cochlear implant?
A: Hearing aids make sounds louder. Cochlear implants can make speech clearer for patients with significant hearing loss. If speech clarity is a problem, the cochlear implant will be the better option in most cases.
Q: Why don’t many insurance companies cover hearing aids?
A: Insurance companies tend to cover hearing aids only for children because they're still acquiring speech and language and learning in school. However, more insurance policies are starting to cover hearing aids in adults. It's still rare, but we recommend that you explore different insurance policies and contact your legislator to discuss federal programs expanding hearing aid coverage.
More About Hearing Loss
More About Cochlear Implants from Other Experts
Cochlear Implantation Activation Process
Steve Bowditch, an audiologist with the Johns Hopkins Listening Center, answers questions about the activation process of cochlear implants.
Implantation Auditory Rehabilitation
Deborah Bervinchak, an auditory rehabilitation therapist with the Johns Hopkins Listening Center answers questions about adult and pediatric auditory rehabilitation following cochlear implantation and activation.