Hearing Loss: Answers from Expert Allison McGrath, Au.D.
What causes ringing in the ears?
There are many causes of tinnitus, also known as ringing, buzzing or chirping in the ears. A history of hearing loss, noise exposure, certain medications and stress can worsen tinnitus. Additionally, there are many food triggers that may worsen tinnitus, and each person is different. Red wine, salt, chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes and certain cheeses have been reported.
How is tinnitus treated?
There are management options available to help alleviate tinnitus. If hearing loss is involved, a hearing aid or cochlear implant may help with tinnitus while the device is being worn. Some hearing aids also come with specific programs and applications to help with tinnitus. Eliminating food and stress triggers may provide tinnitus relief or reduce the intensity. Be sure to discuss your medications with your doctor, as they may also affect tinnitus. There are also specialized programs available, such as tinnitus retraining therapy, that a qualified audiologist may provide in your area.
What is the difference between hearing aids and a cochlear implant?
Hearing aids and cochlear implants both help those with hearing loss to communicate better. Hearing aids are typically best for those with fair word understanding or clarity, and a specific degree of hearing loss. Cochlear implants are traditionally best for those with profound hearing loss in at least one ear and poor word understanding. The best course of action is to seek out an audiologist to have your hearing properly tested, and discuss what the best option is for you.
Why don’t many insurance companies cover hearing aids?
Many health insurers do not provide coverage for hearing aids for adults. However, coverage for adults and children can be determined by checking your individual plan. Some plans offer a hearing aid benefit with a specific provider. Programs may also be available to assist with hearing aid coverage, which your audiologist could discuss with you at a hearing aid evaluation appointment.