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If you live with hearing loss and tinnitus, you’ll already know what an impact they can have on your life. The good news is that hearing technologies have developed at an amazing rate in recent years, and even if you have been wearing hearing aids that help to relieve your conditions, you will almost certainly be able to find a more effective solution today.
Oticon Opn is the market leader in hearing technology that can really change your life, and the unique way that Oticon devices work can offer a hearing experience that is the closest possible thing to normal hearing. Working with your individual differences, rather than trying to treat hearing loss as a generic condition, is the key to the way Oticon Opn works.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a common condition that can vary in severity from a mild and occasional ringing or hissing in the ears to permanent and debilitating noises in the ears at all times. If you suffer with tinnitus, you can talk to your audiologist to find out about treatment options, and you can find support online via the Irish Tinnitus Association.
There is no definitive treatment for tinnitus, but it is possible to reduce discomfort and obtain relief from the condition using many different techniques. The most effective treatment usually involves using hearing aids that are designed for use with tinnitus. This is often very successful as most people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss.
Tinnitus and Your Listening Experience with Oticon
One common problem for people with tinnitus is the increased cognitive effort required in order to hold functional conversations with others. People with normal hearing often do not understand the effort that those with hearing loss must put in so that they can participate in social events, conversations and at work, and this is compounded for people who also have tinnitus, which can also affect memory and attention.
The Oticon OpenSound Navigator (OSN) is designed to combat this problem, and offers a significant improvement on traditional hearing technology. It involves a fast-acting signal processing scheme, which cancels localised and unwanted noises, with a minimum variance distortionless response (MVDR) algorithm, and a post filter to cope with diffuse noise. Working across 16 channels, this combination allows for more precise assessment and selection of sounds, so that noise is strongly reduced but sounds such as speech are preserved in the environment.
Studies show that Oticon Opn Reduces Cognitive Load
A recent experiment demonstrated that OSN can significantly reduce listening effort for people with hearing loss, with findings measured via pupil dilation using pupillometry. Pupillometry studies the dilation of the pupils to understand the demands being made of the individual, especially in situations such as hearing speech within a noisy environment. Pupil dilation was studied to compare different hearing technologies and their effect on cognitive effort, and the results were overwhelmingly in support of a previous study by Wendt et al (2017), demonstrating that noise reduction is beneficial for individuals with hearing loss, even when they have tinnitus.
It is important to note that when a person with hearing loss is treated using technology such as this, their cognitive load is lightened and cognitive resources are freed up. This means that it will be easier for them to manage in noisy environments, coping better with and feeling less exhausted after a social event, for example. They will also be able to focus on other tasks rather than concentrating on the tinnitus to such a large extent, which can be a great relief.
You can find out more about OpenSound Navigator and read technology and research insights here, delivered by the Centre for Applied Audiology Research (CAAR) at Oticon headquarters in Denmark. The CAAR works with leading researchers across the globe, collaborating to investigate new benefits of hearing technology and ensure Oticon uses the best available research methods, so that its BrainHearing™ technologies are both unique and evidence based.
Tinnitus Treatments to Try
Of course, the Oticon Opn with OpenSound Navigator is likely to have a great effect on your experience of living with tinnitus, but you may wish to try other treatments options alongside it. The following may help to relieve the symptoms of tinnitus and stop it from intruding into your everyday life so much:
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is often recommended to those with tinnitus, and involves training the brain to focus away from the tinnitus sounds. This can help to distract from the sounds and reduce the stress levels that exacerbate the problem.
- Sound therapy. Sound therapy can be used to relieve the pain of the tinnitus sounds and is very popular with some tinnitus sufferers. You can talk to your audiologist about how you may be able to access this and whether it might work for you.
- Medication. Although they cannot cure tinnitus, some medications can be used to reduce the severity of the symptoms of the condition. These are usually antidepressant medications, and their use should only be undertaken with caution.
- Ear protection. Protecting the ears against loud noises that could make tinnitus worse is an essential way to help manage the condition. Appliances and machines that create very loud sounds, such as drills and lawnmowers, will affect your hearing and could aggravate tinnitus, so wearing ear defenders or noise cancelling headphones is very important.
- Clean your ears. A build up of earwax can cause the symptoms of tinnitus, and removing this build up can, on occasion, solve the problem altogether. Do not try to remove an ear wax build up at home, as you may cause the wax to become impacted and worsen the problem, but book an earwax removal appointment at our clinic for treatment by a professional.
Work With An Experienced Audiologist At Hidden Hearing
Have you been experiencing tinnitus? If you think you may have tinnitus or any form of hearing loss, it is important to see an experienced audiologist as soon as possible. Hidden Hearing is the leading private provider of hearing care solutions in Ireland, with a national network that includes over eighty branches and clinics. Our team of experienced audiologists will be happy to offer you a free hearing test and find the best solution for you and your lifestyle.