Tintinitus causes numbness

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss - Is There a Link?

Hearing loss can come in many different forms and at different frequencies. Some people experience only mild hearing impairment in a very small frequency range as a result of a small injury to the inner ear. This means that the hearing loss is perceived as tinnitus (also called noises in the ear).

This type of hearing loss cannot be measured using the known methods. One then speaks of a hidden hearing loss. A typical sign of this form of hearing loss is when the person affected has difficulty hearing when there is a lot of background noise.

Missing audiological signal

Other research suggests that tinnitus is caused by lack of or reduced nerve activity in the nerves that connect the damaged part of the inner ear to the central nervous system in the brain. As a result, the signal that reaches the brain is overdriven and a sound can be heard in the brain even though the ear did not hear the sound. That is called tinnitus.

Loud noises can damage both the hair cells in the inner ear and the nerves that send signals from the inner ear to the brain. This means that acoustic overload can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (noise-induced hearing loss).

The hair cells and nerves can also be damaged by other things such as medication, leading to tinnitus.

Have your hearing checked

If you have tinnitus, you could also have hearing loss. We therefore recommend that you also have a professional hearing test done if you have tinnitus.

Spontaneous acoustic signals in the brain

According to current research, the cause of tinnitus lies in the reduced signal transmission from the inner ear to the brain, because this creates spontaneous signals in the nerve connection between the inner ear and the brain, which the brain interprets as sound.

Tinnitus was also found in animal experiments in which animals had hearing loss. Other research has also shown that people with reduced audiological signals are more likely to hear phantom sounds.

Treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids can counteract tinnitus. The signal can be amplified by hearing aids, cochlear implants or other implantable hearing solutions, which reduces the experienced tinnitus. This can be explained by the fact that the audiological tinnitus signal is drowned out, or that the spontaneous nerve activity is reduced by the existing signals from the inner ear.

So everyone with tinnitus also has some form of hearing loss. Conversely, not everyone with hearing loss also has tinnitus.