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Best Hearing Aids for Tinnitus: A Comprehensive Guide

May 29, 2024
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Soundly Staff

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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As an audiologist, I have had the opportunity to work with numerous patients facing a common yet often distressing issue: tinnitus. I've seen firsthand how challenging it can be for individuals to find effective relief from persistent ringing, buzzing, or hissing in their ears.

During my doctoral program at the University of Iowa, I learned about some of the world's leading tinnitus management strategies including Dr. Richard Tyler and others.

I also learned about the important role that hearing aids can play in treatment. This guide is designed to provide you with all the essential information you need to address tinnitus, including the best hearing aids available today to help manage and alleviate your symptoms.

Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been struggling with tinnitus for years, I hope you’ll find the guide below as practical as it is research-backed.

Quick Links

Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus, whether you pronounce it "tinnEYEtus" or "TINNitus," is a term used to describe the phantom sounds that many people hear in the absence of any external noise. This condition affects approximately 50 million Americans, making it a widespread (and unwelcome) phenomenon.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can manifest as ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other noises, and its impact can range from a minor inconvenience to a significant disruption in daily life. It can vary in intensity and duration, and for some, it can be a constant companion.

If you're like most patients, you're probably wondering what could cause this internal sound and where it's actually coming from. Tinnitus is a symptom, and it can have many causes. However, the most common one is hearing loss. This short video explains how hearing loss can contribute to tinnitus perception:

What Causes Tinnitus?

While tinnitus often stems from hearing loss, tinnitus can stem from various causes, including:

  • Hearing Loss: Tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss due to age or exposure to loud noises.
  • Ear Infections or Blockages: Earwax, infections, or other blockages can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms.
  • Head or Neck Injuries: Trauma to these areas can affect auditory nerves or brain function related to hearing.
  • Medications: Certain medications have side effects that include tinnitus.

Why Hearing Aids Are Effective for Tinnitus

Hearing aids help by masking tinnitus through amplified outside sounds and built-in white noise programs.

Hearing aids can play a critical role in managing tinnitus. Here are some of the key ways they help alleviate the symptoms:

  • Amplifying External Sounds: By making external sounds louder, hearing aids can mask the internal sounds of tinnitus, making them less noticeable.
  • Sound Therapy: Many modern hearing aids come with customizable or built-in sound therapy programs that provide soothing noises or white noise to help mask tinnitus symptoms. A hearing care provider can create a masking program that is centered around your specific tinnitus perception for a targeted approach.
  • Neural Stimulation: Consistent auditory stimulation through hearing aids can help retrain the brain to focus less on tinnitus and even help to lessen it over time with consistent wear.

It might seem counterintuitive—if you're hearing a sound in your ear, don't you want to hear less rather than more? But as the video above explains, it's the brain's "craving" for sound that leads to that undesired noise. When the brain gets some of that sound it craves, you may notice less of that squealing, buzzing or hissing sound.

It can take some time to lessen your tinnitus perception. However, there are also some more immediate effects of hearing aids that can provide relief. Hearing aids work by amplifying conversation and ambient sounds, which can help mask the tinnitus in addition to providing the auditory stimulation that your brain is seeking.

Additionally, modern hearing aids come equipped with tinnitus management features for more strategic tinnitus masking, such as customizable sound therapy, which offers further relief tailored to your specific needs. These advanced devices not only improve your overall hearing but also significantly enhance your quality of life.

Two Patient Journeys: Jane and Paul

Tinnitus is unique, and not everyone responds in the same way. To illustrate the typical tinnitus treatment process, I’ll share two real-world examples from patients who visited me in the clinic (anonymized for confidentiality).

Jane's Story

Jane, active woman in her mid-forties, first began to notice a faint, static-like whistling when her surroundings were particularly quiet. Jane suffered a sudden hearing loss in her left ear and sought treatment for it with an ENT. She was treated with a course of steroids, but unfortunately there was minimal recovery of her hearing following treatment.

Along with the onset of her hearing loss, Jane noticed a high-pitched whistling noise. At first, she dismissed it as a minor annoyance, and hoped she would just get used to it or perhaps it would go away. However, as several months went by, Jane found that the whistling sound had become more pronounced and persistent, subtly infiltrating her daily life.

Some nights, Jane could fall asleep without much trouble, almost forgetting the sound. But on other nights, falling asleep became a challenge. The whistling sound was particularly difficult to ignore at night, making it difficult for her to relax and drift off into a restful sleep.

Her husband noticed that the sleep issue was taking its toll and encouraged her to do something about it. Frustrated by nights of disrupted sleep, the increase in frequency and intensity of the static-like whistling prodded Jane to seek professional advice, hoping to find some relief from her increasingly disrupted peace.

I talked to Jane about her unilateral hearing loss and how it was contributing to her brain creating this whistling sound. Jane didn’t feel like her hearing was problematic, for the most part, but she was definitely motivated to start a hearing aid trial if it could lessen the sound. I fit her with a hearing aid and encouraged her to wear it every day during her waking hours to give her the best chance at lessening the tinnitus perception during her trial period. The first two weeks were definitely an adjustment, and Jane wasn’t sure that she noticed a difference. At the one month mark, she reported that the whistling sound, while not completely gone, had lessened in intensity. At that point, Jane had adjusted to the hearing aid, so we added in a custom tinnitus program for her to try if her tinnitus was bothering her. While not a cure, Jane did find some relief from this approach and her hearing aid in combination with stress management and good sleep hygiene helped quite a bit.

Paul's Experience

Paul, a 55-year-old semi-retired engineer, had always prided himself on his sharp mind and keen problem-solving skills. But recently, a persistent sound in his ears had begun to disrupt his peace. This noise fluctuated from a low hum to a cricket-like chirp, and it had been growing worse over the past year. Paul, ever the researcher, took to the internet and read extensively about tinnitus. He discovered that some people found relief with hearing aids, but he remained skeptical about their effectiveness.

As the noise nearly drove him to his wit's end, Paul decided it was time to consult a professional and scheduled an appointment with my office. During the visit, we conducted a thorough hearing test and found that Paul had a mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss. We talked about hearing aids, explaining how they could potentially help manage his tinnitus. Paul had a lot of questions and remained skeptical but open.

Initially, Paul was disheartened when the first six weeks passed without noticeable improvement and adjusting to the 'tinny' sound of his hearing aids. He began to wonder if he had made the right decision. I explained that it can take time until tinnitus lessens, and I encouraged him to keep at it. We added in a customized tinnitus program to his hearing aids, that was centered around the frequency of his hearing loss (and also tinnitus).

Then, around the two-month mark, something changed. One peaceful evening, after removing his hearing aids, Paul realized that the relentless noise had significantly diminished. For the first time in a long while, it was very quiet. This small victory was the glimmer of hope Paul needed, reassuring him that sometimes, persistence and patience do pay off.

The 6 Best Hearing Aids For Tinnitus According to Our Tests 👇

We've broken the list below into two groups: hearing aids you get at a local clinic and those you purchase directly. Typically local clinic devices are more advanced and more customized while direct-to-consumer hearing aids are more affordable and convenient. We'll start with our favorites at local clinics.

  • Widex has the most robust tinnitus features on the market including targeted masking and very natural outside-world sound
  • Phonak Lyric is the only device on the market that stays in your ears 24/7 - great for folks with night-time tinnitus
  • ReSound NEXIA has a dedicated tinnitus-focused app and robust frequency targeting
  • Oticon Intent offers a smoother and more mellow sound quality that can be more comfortable for sound-sensitive wearers

Widex Moment Sheer Review
Widex SmartRIC
Fastest Sound Processing

Widex SmartRIC

Widex SmartRIC

$2,798 - $4,598 / pair
Listen to a demo
pause
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Professional Fitting
Rechargeable

Widex hearing aids are popular among musicians, those with tinnitus, and anyone who appreciate natural sound quality. The Widex SmartRIC integrates the performance of the Widex Moment chip, known for its ability to produce incredibly natural sound, with a discreet and stylish design that appeals to today's fashion-conscious users. While other brands offer a similar slim design, such as Phonak and Signia, Widex has a slight advantage in design. The stylish, L-design is the shortest of its kind on the market, according to Widex.

The Widex SmartRIC distinguishes itself with a unique microphone placement that differs from traditional Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) devices, offering wearers more effective support in background noise. This thoughtful design means that the directional microphones are more in the horizontal plane, and better able to pick up on your conversation partner thanks to the L-shaped 20 degree curve at the top of the hearing aid.

Widex Moment Sheer is also often considered the leader among receiver-in-canal hearing aids for tinnitus. The brand's SoundRelax program streams fractal sounds into your hearing aids to reduce buzzing and ringing.

  • Overall notes: Widex SmartRIC goes toe-to-toe with prescription leaders in the category. The perfect candidate for Widex wants care through a local hearing professional, natural external music quality, tinnitus masking and natural sound.
  • Price: The national average price for Widex hearing aids is around $7,200 per pair. We've found some national providers with prices as low as $3,198/pair. Click here for more on prices.
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth, Behind The Ear Style
Soundly Scorecard
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Pros

Focused on sound quality, delivering clear sound with the lowest delay in the industry.

Includes industry leading tinnitus features.

Widex Moment Sheer hearing aids come with rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming capabilities.

Cons

Only sold through local clinics.

Remote adjustments require an additional accessory.

Widex offers a premium product at a premium price that may be out of budget for some.

Get Widex SmartRIC Details Here 👉
Learn More
Phonak Lyric
Most Invisible Hearing Aid

Phonak Lyric

Phonak Lyric

$4,000 annual membership
Listen to a demo
pause
In the Ear
Professional Fitting

The Phonak Lyric is a non-traditional option that is sold as an annual subscription. The devices are placed deep in your inner ear by a hearing professional every 8 weeks and stay in your ears all day instead of coming out at night.

You can shower, work out, and even swim (without fully submerging) with the hearing aid in your ears. Lyric wearers receive a magnetic “magic wand” tool that turns the hearing aid up or down and remove the device if needed.

Many people find this option more comfortable than traditional invisible hearing aids and enjoy hearing at night if they have kids.

  • Overall Notes: Lyric can be thought of as contact lenses for the ears. Patients who are successfully fit with Lyric often never go back and share that they forget they are wearing hearing aids.
  • Price: Lyric hearing aids are sold on a membership that averages around $4,000 per year
  • Features: Lyric hearing aids use analog technology and boast an impressively small size
Soundly Scorecard
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Pros

Totally invisible

Wear 24 hours a day including workouts and water

Clear sound that uses the shape of the ear

Cons

Expensive at $4,000 per year

Includes in-person changes every 8 weeks

Lack of background noise suppression technology

Read An In-Depth Review of Phonak Lyric
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Soundly team reviewing NEXIA hearing aids
ReSound NEXIA
First Hearing Aid With Auracast

ReSound NEXIA

ReSound NEXIA

As Low As $3,198 / pair
Listen to a demo
pause
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Professional Fitting
Rechargeable

ReSound unveiled NEXIA in October 2023. If you’ve read our past reviews, you might know that ReSound is a regular innovator in the hearing category.

The brand was the first to partner with Apple for Bluetooth streaming back in 2013. In 2022, ReSound released an impressive algorithm update with improved beam-forming tech that boasted a 150% improvement in background noise.

ReSound is also the only manufacturer that places a microphone inside the ear to use the natural shape of the pinna to sort out background noise. Those popular features will remain with ReSound NEXIA with some exciting additions.

The first is a visible reduction in size. Impressively, NEXIA maintains a 30-hour battery life while cutting 25% off the overall size—big thumbs up from us.

The second big announcement is that NEXIA has an updated Bluetooth capability that allows Auracast streaming in public places. If you aren’t familiar with Auracast, check out our guide to the topic here.

ReSound is among the best in the industry at separating speech and noise in a background situation. Our lead audiologist recently put NEXIA in a test box and found the hearing aids could consistently provide up to 8-10 dB of background noise reduction.

ReSound NEXIA is on most of our shortlists for the best premium, receiver-in-canal hearing aids on the market.

  • Overall notes: ReSound NEXIA is an all around excellent product with an innovative approach to microphones and one of the smallest form factors in the industry. ReSound NEXIA has strong Bluetooth connection that now boasts Auracast compatibility.
  • Price: The national average price for ReSound NEXIA is $7,410 per pair. In our price research we've found some national providers with prices as low as $3,198/pair. Click here for more on prices.
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth with hands-free calling for iPhone and iPad, Small behind the ear style
  • What audiologists say: “ReSound offers elegant design and good (if not elite) sound quality. These hearing aids are high quality and reliable.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Soundly Scorecard
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Pros

Great for background noise management

Auracast compatible

Small form factor and an optional 3rd microphone in the ear

Cons

More expensive compared to direct to consumer and OTC options


NEXIA's in-ear M&RIE microphone is a bit larger and can be uncomfortable for some

Get the full ReSound NEXIA breakdown 👉
Learn More
Hand holding Oticon hearing aids
Oticon Intent
Most Advanced Sensors

Oticon Intent

Oticon Intent

As low as $4,898 / pair
Listen to a demo
pause
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Professional Fitting
Rechargeable

Oticon is the second most popular hearing aid brand (after Phonak). The brand has built a fanbase around its “open” sound philosophy by using advanced methods to support natural sound. Their newest device, the Oticon Intent, goes a step further, offering open sound quality customized to the user’s intent.

The newly designed devices continuously adapt based on four built-in sensors. Together, the brand calls this MoreSound Intelligence 3.0.

  • Conversation sensors: Search your soundscape for speech sounds.
  • Head sensors: Track your movement to gather information about where you are focused.
  • Body sensors: Track your movement through the room and open the field of sound when you walk
  • Acoustic sensors: Analyze background noises, echo and room dimensions

None of these sensors are brand new to the world of hearing aids, but Oticon claims to be the first brand to use all four together in one connected system. Add in Oticon's already impressive Deep Neural Network and you get what might be the smartest hearing aid in the industry.

  • Overall notes: Oticon Real is an undisputed leader among top-tier hearing aids. If you are attracted to the idea of hearing more of the sounds around you vs. solely focusing on voices, this product is a great choice.
  • Price: The national average price for Oticon Intent is $6,330 per pair. In my price research I found some national providers with prices as low as $2,898/pair. Click here for more on prices.
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth LE Audio, Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “Oticon is among the best. If you are looking for all-around, top-of-the-line technology, this is an excellent choice.” - Ramsay Poindexter, AuD
Soundly Scorecard
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Pros

Open sound quality that many users prefer

Bluetooth streaming from Android and Apple devices

Offered with both rechargeable and disposable batteries

Cons

Oticon Real hearing aids start at $2,898 and can cost as much as $7,000 with walk in care

Oticon Real hearing aids require a visit to an in person audiologist and are not sold online

Get the full Oticon Intent breakdown 👉
Learn More

Best Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid Options for Tinnitus 👇

For folks who prefer to program their own hearing aids or save on their purchase, OTC can be a compelling option. The brands below are our favorites for their blend of affordability and tinnitus-supporting sound quality. Neither product offers sound-masking inside the devices.

  • Jabra Enhance Select is our favorite for remote programmed devices on the market (uses a similar technology to ReSound NEXIA at a lower price)
  • Sennheiser All Day Clear is our tinnitus-friendly OTC product under $1,000

Jabra Enhance Select Hearing Aids
Jabra Enhance Select
Best Overall Value

Jabra Enhance Select

Jabra Enhance Select

$1,195 - $1,995 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Rechargeable
Professional Fitting

Jabra Enhance Select hearing aids are made by the world's 4th largest hearing aid manufacturer (ReSound). Jabra Enhance (originally called Lively) made a name for itself by recreating the full-service audiology service online.

Instead of requiring you to come into their office, Jabra reduces the cost by programming remotely and shipping to your home.

All Jabra products come with a 100-day return policy and 3 years of unlimited remote care. You can find the same product for sale at a local clinic for around $4,500.

Get started by filling out Jabra's online survey via the right-hand corner of their website.

  • Overall notes: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, are on a budget, and want a hearing professional to program your hearing aids to match your hearing loss, this is one of the most compelling products on the market.
  • Price: $1,395 for a pair of battery-powered - $1,695 for a pair of rechargeable, $1,995 for enhanced sound quality
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (not hands-free), Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “Their audiologists can personalize and program Jabra hearing aids in real-time; highlighting the benefits of telehealth and competent professionals.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

One of the most affordable and convenient ways to purchase online while maintaining professional care

Comes with a 100 day free-return period

Offers rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming

Cons

Remote care requires users to be somewhat tech savvy

Jabra only offers styles that sit behind the ear

Get Jabra Enhance Select prices and details 👉
See Price
Sennheiser OTC hearing aids
Sennheiser All Day Clear
Affordable and Rechargeable

Sennheiser All Day Clear

Sennheiser All Day Clear

$999 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Rechargeable
OTC
Bluetooth (Android and iPhone)

In August 2023, Sennheiser unveiled a new OTC hearing aid expected to compete with industry leaders like Bose, Sony, and Jabra. Sennheiser All-Day Clear is a full-featured hearing aid with Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calls (both Android and iPhone, an onboard hearing test, and easy to use app.

Our team tested All-Day Clear and compared it with Sonova's flagship brands - Phonak and Unitron. Our verdict? All-Day Clear has a few missing bells and whistles (more on that below), but the differences are not dealbreakers. The perfect candidate for All-Day Clear has mild-to-moderate hearing loss, is comfortable using a smartphone, and wants Sonova-made technology for a budget price.

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Sennheiser online or at a local retailer
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ If you need further adjustments, Sennheiser's technical team and give you some technical advice, but is not highly trained in hearing health matters.
  • Overall notes: Based on our reviews, this hearing aid is the most complete offering in the over-the-counter market so far.
  • Price: $999 for All-Day Clear with complimentary setup care through Soundly
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth Streaming for iPhone and Android users, Excellent Programming app, Behind-The-Ear Style
Pros

Underlying technology and sound-processing from Sonova (top global manufacturer)

Self-fitting using the Sennheiser app

Bluetooth streaming for iPhone and Android

Cons

Customer support is limited to tech troubleshooting Vs. health advice

Only comes in one color scheme

More expensive than some other OTC competitors

Read our Full Sennheiser Review 👉
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Hearing Aid Price / pair Tinnitus Support Bluetooth Rechargeable? Most Dexterity-friendly Care Type Warranty Style
Widex SmartRIC $2,998 - 4,598 ✅✅✅ Local Care 3 Year RIC
ReSound NEXIA $3,198 - $4,498 ✅✅ Local Care 3 Year RIC
Oticon Intent $3,198 - $4,498 ✅✅ Local Care 3 years RIC
Jabra Enhance Select $1,195 - 1,995 Over-The-Counter 3 years RIC
Sennheiser All Day $949 Over-The-Counter 1 year RIC
Lyric $4,252 / year ✅✅ ✅✅✅ Local Care n/a invisible

Are Hearing Aids Specifically for Tinnitus?

Hearing aids are programmed to fit an individual's specific hearing loss, which is also beneficial in managing tinnitus. Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can naturally help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Thus, any hearing aid that is properly set up to address your hearing loss can also have a positive impact on tinnitus management.

However, there are also specific features designed to tackle tinnitus with specific programs, offered by certain manufacturers. So while most hearing aids will address both hearing loss and tinnitus, there are specific features you might prefer.

One such feature is the tinnitus masking programs. For example, the Widex Zen programs are renowned for their effectiveness in providing soothing relief from tinnitus (more on that within our list below). These programs generate soothing sounds and white noise or other sounds tailored to the user's preferences, helping to mask the tinnitus.

These specialized programs can be beneficial for individuals whose tinnitus affects their quality of life, providing an additional layer of therapeutic sound that provides some relief.

Are Hearing Aids Right for You?

So now you're wondering whether your tinnitus really warrants a hearing aid. To help make your decision easier, we're going to lay out all the pros and cons.

Pros of Using Hearing Aids for Tinnitus

Hearing aids offer a multitude of benefits that go well beyond the relief of tinnitus symptoms:

  • Neural Retraining: Consistent auditory stimulation from hearing aids can potentially retrain your brain to focus less on tinnitus over time or even reduce the internal tinnitus perception.
  • Masking Tinnitus: By providing soothing sounds or white noise, hearing aids can help mask the internal noise from the tinnitus.
  • Improved Hearing: Hearing aids amplify conversation and environmental sounds, which can significantly improve your overall hearing and reduce listening effort.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Better hearing and reduced tinnitus can lead to a more enjoyable daily life, including improved social interactions and reduced stress.

Cons of Using Hearing Aids for Tinnitus

While there are plenty of positives with hearing aids, it's essential to consider some potential drawbacks:

  • Cost: Hearing aids can be expensive, and the initial investment might be a barrier for some. We’ve included some more budget-friendly options below. 
  • Adjustment Period: It might take some time to get used to wearing hearing aids and experiencing their full benefits.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is required to keep the hearing aids functioning optimally, which could involve additional costs or inconvenience.
  • Not a Cure: While hearing aids can alleviate symptoms, they are not a cure for tinnitus and may not work for everyone.

By weighing these pros and cons, you can make a more informed decision about whether hearing aids are the right choice for managing your tinnitus.

OTC vs. Prescription Hearing Aids

Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription hearing aids can help manage tinnitus, but they differ in several ways. Let's break down prescription versus OTC.

Prescription Hearing Aids

Prescription hearing aids can cater to a wide range of hearing loss, from mild to profound. Your clinician will ensure that your hearing aids are properly fit to your unique hearing loss. One advantage of these devices is the ability for your clinician to create custom tinnitus masking programs tailored specifically to your unique tinnitus frequency. This allows for seamless phone calls and audio streaming directly into their ears, enhancing convenience and sound clarity.

However, it's important to acknowledge some drawbacks associated with prescription hearing aids. These devices generally come with a higher cost compared to OTC options. Additionally, they require scheduling regular clinic appointments for fittings, adjustments, and maintenance, which could be less convenient for those with busy schedules. If you have the budget, prescription devices with customizable masking programs are probably worth the upgrade to prescription care for a more tailored, personalized experience.  

Now let's recap the pros and cons with prescription hearing aids.

Pros:

  • Fit to Your Hearing Loss: Prescription hearing aids are tailored to your specific hearing loss, ensuring an optimal fit and enhanced performance.
  • Tinnitus Masking: Customized programs designed by your clinician can provide targeted relief from tinnitus.
  • Advanced Features: These devices often come with advanced technological capabilities like Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for seamless phone calls and audio streaming.
  • Professional Support: Ongoing support from hearing care professionals ensures that your hearing aids provide the best possible outcomes.

Cons:

  • Higher Cost: Prescription hearing aids typically come with a higher price tag compared to OTC options.
  • Regular Clinic Visits: Fittings, adjustments, and maintenance require regular appointments, which can be inconvenient for those with busy schedules.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

OTC hearing aids are designed for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss and can be purchased without a prescription. They are generally more affordable and offer a convenient, quicker purchasing process. While they can treat your mild to moderate hearing loss, tinnitus masking programs are often not available. However, as mentioned above, treating your hearing loss helps treat tinnitus. That being said, OTC devices usually do not provide the same level of customization or professional support as prescription hearing aids. Users may receive some support through customer service.

By understanding the differences between prescription and OTC hearing aids, you can make an informed decision on which option might be better suited to your tinnitus management and overall hearing health.

Let's recap the pros and cons with OTC hearing aids.

Pros:

  • Affordability: Generally less expensive than prescription hearing aids.
  • Accessibility: Easier to purchase without needing a medical prescription.
  • Convenience: Quick and straightforward buying process.

Cons:

  • Self-Fit: Often require some tech-savvy to set up the devices using a smartphone.
  • No Masking Sounds: Often lack white noise streaming options.
  • Limited Professional Support: Limited access to professional advice and adjustments.

How to Mask Tinnitus if You Aren't Ready For Hearing Aids

If you aren't ready to try hearing aids, don't worry—there are still several effective strategies you can explore to manage your tinnitus. Here are some alternatives that might provide relief:

Alternative #1 - DIY Tinnitus Masker Options  

A quickly growing number of households now have smart speakers throughout their home. If you have a smart speaker in your house, try playing ambient brown or white noise. Of course, you can try music, podcasts as well. If you are tech curious, you might even want to play with this tinnitus focused Alexa skill that plays custom frequencies based on the tinnitus sound you hear. 

Another easy DIY option is to purchase a pair of wireless headphones like Airpods and tune into a tinnitus app (or your favorite music). The ReSound iPhone app works with standard headphones in addition to working with their hearing aids. Use of personal headphones is especially helpful if you are considering hearing aids in the future and want to test out the ReSound system.

Finally, don’t forget that a strong fan or humidifier could be a low tech mask for your tinnitus. This might sound too good to be true but even a small amount of noise, especially at night, can make a difference. 

Alternative #2: Tinnitus Masking Sound Machines

Many people with tinnitus choose to use a sound machine placed by your bed or in your home’s common areas. These machines are straightforward to use and offer multiple sound options, which can help find the right sound and frequency for your tinnitus. These are a few of our favorites:  

LectroFan Sound Masking Device - $45

This tinnitus friendly sound machine gets rave reviews on Amazon for its simplicity and range of settings. It has over 20 different sounds to reach different tinnitus frequencies. Check out this video for a full unboxing review.  

Read more on Amazon

SNOOZE Smart Tinnitus Masking Sound Machine - $79

The SNOOZE device makes this list for its mix of modern design and old fashion technology. It is one of the only sound machines that uses a real fan instead of a digital sound. This low tech approach results in a very natural sound adjusted by manually twisting the device. The SNOOZE has 10 sounds, including a tone specifically for tinnitus masking. You can watch a full YouTube tutorial here.

Read more on Amazon

LectroFan Micro2  - $33

Another favorite from LectroFan, the Micro2, makes the list for its travel-friendly size. The device has 11 sound settings, can operate without being plugged in for up to 40 hours of sleep time, and allows you to stream audio from your phone.

Read more on Amazon

Final Thoughts

We hope this information has been helpful. If you suffer from tinnitus, know that you are not alone and that most people eventually find solutions that reduce their symptoms. If you are just getting started on your journey, consult your doctor and people you trust.

Look critically at quick-fix solutions that pop up online and be patient with yourself. You might also like these tips for at-home tinnitus treatment.

If you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you at [email protected].

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