How do I chose the right Hearing Aids for hearing loss & tinnitus?

Posted by gyro @gyro, Dec 17, 2019

I am new to this group and am in need of some help. I have a slight- mild hearing loss in frequencies up through 3000Hz in both ears. From 3000
HZ my hearing drops in a linear line to -40db in my right ear and -55db in my left. I also have tinnitus. My audiologist has suggested hearing aids for both the hearing loss and tinnitus. Unfortunately she strongly suggests over the ear type and I was hoping for something less visible in the ear. My question is;
Has anybody with similar hearing loss and tinnitus had a good result with canal style hearing aids?
Thank you.

Liked by KTherese

Hi @gyro, welcome! You've come to the right place to get information, tips and experiences from people who also have hearing loss and tinnitus. To start, I'm bringing @sharieberts @julieo4 @dsh33782 @bobbyboomer @devay @hearingpeg @mikepa @bookysue @nurseheadakes and @tonyinmi into this discussion. I'm sure others will join too.

Here are related discusions you may also be interested in:
– What's One Thing You'd Change in Getting Hearing Aids? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/one-thing-to-change/
– What to Expect at Your Hearing Aid Fitting
– When to replace hearing aids https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/when-to-replace-hearing-aides/ https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-to-expect-at-your-hearing-aid-fitting/
– Do hearing aids damage ears? Is the helping hurting in the long run? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/do-hearing-aids-damage-ears-is-the-helping-hurting-in-the-long-run/

Gyro, did your audiologist explain why she believe over the ear type of aids would be best for you?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @gyro, welcome! You've come to the right place to get information, tips and experiences from people who also have hearing loss and tinnitus. To start, I'm bringing @sharieberts @julieo4 @dsh33782 @bobbyboomer @devay @hearingpeg @mikepa @bookysue @nurseheadakes and @tonyinmi into this discussion. I'm sure others will join too.

Here are related discusions you may also be interested in:
– What's One Thing You'd Change in Getting Hearing Aids? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/one-thing-to-change/
– What to Expect at Your Hearing Aid Fitting
– When to replace hearing aids https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/when-to-replace-hearing-aides/ https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-to-expect-at-your-hearing-aid-fitting/
– Do hearing aids damage ears? Is the helping hurting in the long run? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/do-hearing-aids-damage-ears-is-the-helping-hurting-in-the-long-run/

Gyro, did your audiologist explain why she believe over the ear type of aids would be best for you?

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Thank you Colleen for welcoming me into this forum. I will look into the other discussion groups you recommended.
My audiologist said that the trend today is the receiver in the ear hearing aid and that many of her patients had success as new hearing aid wearers. She also doesn’t believe many manufactures were putting tinnitus masking into canal hearing aids which is something she wanted to have added to my hearing aids.

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Hi gyro. Everyone's hearing is different. A product that works for me may not be the best for you. You'll discover this more as you read some of the posts. You may want to concentrate on the hearing aid features. See what appeals to you. Unfortunately, the manufacturers do not make it easy for you to research on your own. Look at hearingtracker.com for comparing hearing aids. It sounds like vanity may be a concern for you since you prefer something that is not easily seen. Keep in mind that certain desirable features, such as a telecoil, may not be able to fit inside an aid that is small. Also consider that when you tell someone you have hearing loss, they WILL forget. It's a constant battle where you're reminding people over and over. Having a hearing aid that is visible may help with that. The sooner that vanity is not an issue, the better. As far as tinnitus treatment, be careful of the hype. This feature only helps a small number of people and may not help you. Plan on visiting your audiologist on a regular basis so that the hearing aid programs can be updated to better match your loss.
Tony in Michigan

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Welcome to the forum.
There is good info posted above. I can't add much except emphasis. Everyones hearing is different. The hearing aids can only deliver the sound to the ears. Then, what the ears do with that sound, how it is transmitted to the brain, and how the brain processes whatever signal it receives are variable from person to person and sometimes day to day. Then add to that other factors such as the patients ability to adapt/learn, the voices/sounds he/she is listening to, and the other ambient noise/sound present it becomes a pretty dynamic situation. Getting the best hearing help results is more often a process than an event.

I often wish that my hearing aids were not made to be as small and inconspicuous as possible, but were large and bright colored so that I didn't have to explain so often (and repeatedly) that I have a hearing loss. I'd rather have people underestimate my hearing loss than not notice it. Don't let hearing loss consume you. There are lots of devices to help us. None of us chose to have hearing loss, but it is how we deal with it that makes the difference.

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Although vision loss can actually be corrected, for the most part, with glasses/surgery, correction for hearing loss has lagged far behind. Part of the problem has been "get rich at any costs" vendors hawking aids that don't work well at all, even though they may cost real money. Vision correction has escaped that for the most part. All my life, I had such poor vision that glasses weren't able to give me good vision. I had to memorize what colors everyone in the office was wearing so that I could tell who was who during the day. Things were never truly clear, always blurred. Then, just as my hearing continued to worsen in the one ear that still functioned, I had cataract surgery. Initially, I had 20/20 vision–for the first time in my life! WOW! Trees have leaves, grass has blades, buildings have doors and windows, signs are there to inform you–what an amazing world! It's been well over a decade since my first cataract surgery and even though I'm no longer 20/20 I still am thankful for the miracle I see every day. Shoot, I even can tell when my glasses need to be cleaned!

My big question is why people want to hide the fact that they wear hearing aids when wearing glasses is universally accepted. Just as wearing glasses doesn't necessarily mean you're old, the same is true with aids: many people need them while they're still very young. I remember my father, who was profoundly deaf, wearing an aid the size of a small transistor radio in a harness. We learned to talk to his chest…until he got aids that were housed in misshapen bows for his glasses, the first "small" aids. He's been gone for almost 40 years, and today's aids are far, far smaller and do much more, but people still don't want anyone to know that they need them. Why? What is there to be ashamed about? Much better to wear aids openly, gently ask people to face you, than to stumble along in a quiet world.

Now, if aids could compensate for hearing loss as well as glasses compensate for vision loss…

Liked by thedeafguy

REPLY
@tonyinmi

Hi gyro. Everyone's hearing is different. A product that works for me may not be the best for you. You'll discover this more as you read some of the posts. You may want to concentrate on the hearing aid features. See what appeals to you. Unfortunately, the manufacturers do not make it easy for you to research on your own. Look at hearingtracker.com for comparing hearing aids. It sounds like vanity may be a concern for you since you prefer something that is not easily seen. Keep in mind that certain desirable features, such as a telecoil, may not be able to fit inside an aid that is small. Also consider that when you tell someone you have hearing loss, they WILL forget. It's a constant battle where you're reminding people over and over. Having a hearing aid that is visible may help with that. The sooner that vanity is not an issue, the better. As far as tinnitus treatment, be careful of the hype. This feature only helps a small number of people and may not help you. Plan on visiting your audiologist on a regular basis so that the hearing aid programs can be updated to better match your loss.
Tony in Michigan

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Hello Tony,

Thank you for taking the time to provide me with additional points to consider in this maze of picking effective hearing aids. I’ve already started going through the pertinent posts on hearingtracker.com that you recommended and I’m finding it very helpful. One tread I finished had every audiologist agreeing that a hearing aid style cannot be determined by an audiogram alone. Activity level, types of
hearing environments, personal preference and other factors need to be considered according to what I read.
And you are spot on that I am being vain about appearance. I initially wanted absolutely no part of the aid to be visible. But after going over all of the features that I would like (streaming, directional microphones, battery life, and some others I was told they would only be available on the in the canal type (ITC). So they would be visible in the opening of my ears but I was willing to compromise on the vanity to get the features I wanted. But my audiologist still steered me away from them because I believe the
ease of fitting the on the ear type. I just can’t bring myself to go with those and as a full time glasses wearer I don’t want to have them sitting up there competing for space either. I also learned from hearingtracker that ITC types CAN also come with tinnitus maskers too. She claimed they were very limited in the market. After reading that tread though I’m wondering if I’ll need it. Many of the
audiologists stated that most of their patients found at least some relief from just getting hearing aids that amplified sounds for their hearing loss. The new sounds reintroduced to the ear help mask the tinnitus without
adding an artificial masker.

Liked by imallears, tonyinmi

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Yup, it takes a little while to get used to the behind-the-ear (BTE) aids if you wear glasses all the time. However, it does work. I went back to my optician and got the glasses frames adjusted so that my multi-focal lenses work correctly WITH my aid in place. It might not need to be done if you wear two aids, but I only can utilize one and I have one almost totally deaf ear that's not aidable due to recruitment. I bought my aid at Costco, and they have an extremely liberal return policy, plus they allow you to wear the aid(s) around the store for as long as you can meander around for an initial tryout. They have "loaner" aids just for people to try out–I wore a loaner for two weeks before getting my real aid, which enabled me to learn what worked, what needed to be adjusted, how they felt, etc. Even if the top of your ear feels a bit sore with the aid plus glasses frames the first day or two, it does get comfortable pretty quickly.

Keep in mind that tinnitus is only your body attempting to fill the void of silence. Wearing an aid either brings in useful sound enough to make you less aware of the T, or it may actually reduce the T a bit. You'll find that you won't even be aware of the ever-present T after a time…unless you have the type that literally is so loud it can wake you during the night. I've had the quieter type for decades, am not ordinarily aware of it (unless I thinking about it, like right now), but, when Meniere's moved into my "hearing" ear, the T was initially so loud that it was almost unbearable. Fortunately, it is much less loud now, although I'm still aware of it, partly because that ear is tuned to a different "radio station from hell" than my long-time deaf ear.

Personally, if your audiologist recommends BTE aids, I'd give that lots of weight, especially if you problem is the straightforward business of simply being unable to hear. For me, the big problem is that everything is so distorted that I can HEAR but am often unable to UNDERSTAND words or sounds. It's very confusing to hear that someone is speaking when the speech is so distorted that there are almost no real words in the spew of gibberish! That, plus recruitment and fluctuation of problems are due to Meniere's, something that I may never get used to.

Liked by imallears

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Yep, and I am new to hearing aids – only fitted a month ago and they fit behind my ears with tubes down and into the ears. Close to invisible to spot and work perfectly as one would expect down here in Aussie. Ps, FREE to seniors in Australia.

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@tommo1770

Yep, and I am new to hearing aids – only fitted a month ago and they fit behind my ears with tubes down and into the ears. Close to invisible to spot and work perfectly as one would expect down here in Aussie. Ps, FREE to seniors in Australia.

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Hi @tommo1770, welcome to Connect. What type of hearing loss do you have? How are you managing with the new hearing aids?

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Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences with BTE hearing aids, very much appreciated.
I called my audiologist’s office last week for an appointment to go in and decide on my hearing aid style with the thought that I would go with the BTE if it is my best option. Turns out I need another hearing test because I procrastinated beyond the 6 month limit (8 months) from hearing test to getting hearing aids fitted. I’m going back in first week of January for testing and fitting on same day I’ll let you all know how I make out after I get them.

Liked by kmgiamei

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@gyro

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences with BTE hearing aids, very much appreciated.
I called my audiologist’s office last week for an appointment to go in and decide on my hearing aid style with the thought that I would go with the BTE if it is my best option. Turns out I need another hearing test because I procrastinated beyond the 6 month limit (8 months) from hearing test to getting hearing aids fitted. I’m going back in first week of January for testing and fitting on same day I’ll let you all know how I make out after I get them.

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Gyro: Let us know how everything goes with your test/fitting! In regards to tinnitus see if the hearing aids help. It doesn’t for me.

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@scottk

Gyro: Let us know how everything goes with your test/fitting! In regards to tinnitus see if the hearing aids help. It doesn’t for me.

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I will update after the testing and on the aids I will be getting. Sorry to hear the hearing aids didn’t help with your tinnitus. My hope is I might find relieve from mine but I might have to get the masking feature to ensure some help there.

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Thanks gyro! Also on Jan 16th I will be going for a tinnitus evaluation in Milwaukee at the Froedert Clinic. I have a high pitched ringing and also a low drone sound that sometimes gets worse. Will let you know how that goes.

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I’ve read recently that people with hearing loss and tinnitus can often times find relieve from their tinnitus simply by wearing hearing aids to help compensate for their hearing loss. The amplification prescribed allows for greater sound input which in turn can lessen or even eliminate the tinnitus while wearing the hearing aids.
My question is: Have any folks here found that to be the case or did/has the tinnitus remained at the same level as before hearing aids were prescribed and worn?

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Gyro: Please take a look at the App TinnitusPlay. You may find it interesting!

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