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stella52 (@stella52)

Tinnitus-masking hearing aids?

Hearing Loss | Last Active: Oct 13, 2020 | Replies (25)

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Perhaps it's not tinnitus at all…but a fun little thing called auditory hallucinations. The less you can hear, the more likely this little trick is to be a new feature in your life. During the year that I was almost totally deaf, I often clearly heard things that I knew (a) I could not hear, and (b) were not happening. The most usual feature was, often in my home office, hearing the dishwasher run…water swishing around, dishes clicking together, etc. Reality is that I've never been able to hear the dishwasher from my office (even before the deaf year) and I KNEW that I had not turned on the dishwasher. Just as some hearing docs believe that tinnitus is Ma Nature's way of providing something for us to listen to, auditory hallucinations also fill the gap of silence. My hearing loss is primarily due to Meniere's, so, once I was able to get on a good program of replacement hormones, my hearing returned to the level it had been before the deaf year, and no more hallucinations.
I've had tinnitus in my right ear for decades, but I only notice it when someone mentions it. When I went bilateral over a year ago, a new kind started in my left ear, which hadn't been affected by Meniere's until then. For a little while, the dueling sounds were a little bothersome, but I've become used to them. While I did recover the hearing I had had in my left ear, the tinnitus is still present. However, for the first couple of months after being able to hear something again, every day brought a wonderful "new" sound. The first time I stepped out on our deck and heard a bird was a super thrill! Of course, the real joke is that, until I went bilateral, I had thought my remaining hearing (age-related deafness in my "good" ear, nothing from the bad right ear) was pretty poor. Now, because I can use phones if I concentrate and hear household things, I think I'm hearing really well!

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Replies to "Perhaps it's not tinnitus at all...but a fun little thing called auditory hallucinations. The less you..."

Thanks for your response – I think you are onto something. What I didn't mention – because I wasn't sure it was relevant – was that after each of the last 2 incidents I "heard" songs, and I "heard" them clearly enough to recognize the songs and most of the words. So I simply concluded singing a song was part of my neighbor's wake up routine! Maybe my mind was just filling the gap. Oh well – at least I now know that I shouldn't take everything I think I hear as real.
Also, I can think of a couple of possible changes in my life which may be adding to my difficulties – a new medication, and a decline in my intake of water and healthy fluids. We'll see how it goes.