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.

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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@gyro

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, I believe that it is true that tinnitus relief can come from wearing hearing aids. I have occasional bouts of the ringing but its worse when I remove my hearing aids for the night. Fortunately for me, it doesn't last that long.
Tony in Michigan

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@gyro

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?

Jump to this post

@gyro
Hi,
To answer your question specifically. I have bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus in my left ear which is my worse ear and which I do not notice much anymore.
However it is more noticeable without the aids. It virtually disappears once both my aids are in…which is most of the day. It returns to the same noise level once both are off. I can remove just the left aid during the day but because I have the right aid in, I don’t notice the tinnitus in the left ear. So sound and any noise seems to mask the tinnitus but it is only temporary and as long as I am wearing one or two aids. Hope I explained that so it made sense.

FL Mary

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Since tinnitus is nature's way of filling the void of silence, it makes sense that providing sound with an aid or aids would reduce the tinnitus. Tinnitus has been part of my life for nearly 40 years, so I can go for hours without actually noticing it–if my aid is in. I do still notice tinnitus at night, which is, of course, without the aid. Even the screaming tinnitus that moved in when I went bilateral is not an actual problem with the aid in. Perhaps Mother Nature takes a rest when we have aid(s) in, providing something to fill the silent void.

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I have persistent loud tinnitus.
I wear my aids twelve to fourteen hours a day.
The aids definitely help with the tinnitus. They magnify surrounding sounds thus helping with the tinnitus.
The amount of help depends on the
amount of noise around you.
Sitting in front of the TV in a quiet room you probably will notice the tinnitus more than outside are in a noisy venue.
The other thing you may swear to is that when you take the hearing aids out the tinnitus is worst then before you got your hearings aids.
It's not. That's just how much the aids are helping mask the tinnitus.
I do have a tinnitus masking program that I use sometimes. It's just static noise but it can help distract from the tinnitus sometimes.
Ok got to go.
I know this answer is late but I haven't been to the site in a while.
I could say – wishing you good luck on your journey – but I've personally learned that adapting to hearing aids
requires hard work sometimes and definitely commitment.

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@freezerman504

I have persistent loud tinnitus.
I wear my aids twelve to fourteen hours a day.
The aids definitely help with the tinnitus. They magnify surrounding sounds thus helping with the tinnitus.
The amount of help depends on the
amount of noise around you.
Sitting in front of the TV in a quiet room you probably will notice the tinnitus more than outside are in a noisy venue.
The other thing you may swear to is that when you take the hearing aids out the tinnitus is worst then before you got your hearings aids.
It's not. That's just how much the aids are helping mask the tinnitus.
I do have a tinnitus masking program that I use sometimes. It's just static noise but it can help distract from the tinnitus sometimes.
Ok got to go.
I know this answer is late but I haven't been to the site in a while.
I could say – wishing you good luck on your journey – but I've personally learned that adapting to hearing aids
requires hard work sometimes and definitely commitment.

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@freezerman504 such a helpful response. Thank you. Can you explain more about the work you had to adapt to your hearing aids? What tips would you offer?

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@colleenyoung

@freezerman504 such a helpful response. Thank you. Can you explain more about the work you had to adapt to your hearing aids? What tips would you offer?

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Adapting to hearing aids is different for each person.
For me I remember thinking these things suck. I hated them. Everything was so loud.
I could not understand anything better everything was just loud.
So I had an agreement with my wife. I would try them and if I didn't like them I wouldn't wear them. So after a couple months I decided I was done. About six months later the tinnitus got the better of me. I've been wearing them ever since.
Very important point about hearing aids. They are not glasses. You don't put them on and wala you can hear.
Aids have to be adjusted.
Usually multiple times.
In my case two years later I'm still having them adjusted.
The problem for me was I didn't know what I wanted. I just knew that the sound wasn't right.
I read the Hearing Aid Tracker forum everyday.
The forum is how I learned about my aids and everything else I know. I didn't think of the glasses thing I read that on the site.
Because of them I knew what to ask the audiologist to do. I had a warbling sound since I got the aids did not no why. Read about feed back manager. Went to the audiologist I got her to turn it off. Warbling disappeared. Other adjustments I've had is the result of the site.
The only way to adapt to hearing aids is you have to wear them everyday.
They're are a lot of smart people on the forum.
They tell you your brain has got to adapt to the aids. You haven't heard things for however long you've needed them. It takes a while for your brain to begin to recognize the sounds.
I laughed at this. I thought they were nuts.
They're not. It's real.
The thing is there are pieces to the puzzle.
Do you need open are closed domes.
Maybe you need moulds.
Each person is different.
No matter what do not be afraid to ask questions.
Advocate for yourself.
Audiologist use computer programs that fit your loss. They may are may not be correct.
It's up to you to educate yourself about your loss and what aids may be best for you.
The Hearing Aid Tracker
site is a good place yup start.

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@joyces

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.

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Hi @joyces, you said you have one almost totally deaf ear that's not aidable due to recruitment. Are you wearing CROS hearing aid? What is your word recognition score? I have single-side hearing loss and only 20% in word recognition. Because word recognition is so low, they said it's not aidable. Do you have distortion in both ears? Does the hearing aid help a little bit in speech clarity, any help at all?

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Answering btpanda: My right ear was lost to Meniere's over 35 years ago, was not aidable due to lack of hearing, distortion, and recruitment (the last two "special" features of Meniere's). My left ear had increasing age-related deafness, but I had gotten by with speech reading and guessing until my left ear went bilateral, starting months ago, but becoming completely involved with distortion and recruitment last May. I've worn an aid in my left ear for about a year and a half. Meniere's also has a fun little feature where it fluctuates from hour to hour, so one day I can puzzle things out fairly well, but the next day (or hour) I hear sound but it's horribly distorted. For example, earlier today my husband was watching a discussion show on TV and it went to commercial–and the muffled whispery sounds of the voices were exactly the same as the music of the commercial. On a really good day, in a sound booth, I was able to puzzle out 55% of the simple sentences spoken by the one speaker, but (a) it was a really good day, and (b) there were no distractions, and (c) the sentences were easy to figure out, like "it's time for lunch." No numbers or names or technical terms…totally unreal. Today, a client called to ask me to make changes on a sales sheet, but I couldn't make out much at all, so handed the phone off to my husband, who used to work for the client. Unfortunately, he's not at all pleased at having to translate for me, so only gave me a very general idea of what was wanted. AARGH! Imagine the phone issuing sound that has no discernable words! I have a terrible time during technical meetings, even on good days. On bad days, the whole thing's a mystery. I've not found that people are very patient with being asked to repeat or understanding at all. One technical team that I meet with at least once a month agreed, when I flat demanded, to move the "O" setup of tables much closer together as there are only a dozen or so people in attendance…but the first of this month I met total resistance and refusal to allow the tables to be moved. Really hard, as it's three hours of intense discussion of tech stuff.

Before Meniere's became a big problem 35 years ago, I was an amateur musician, but I had to quit playing, both because the sound around me was downright painful (recruitment) and because I couldn't hear well enough to be part of an ensemble or orchestra. Now, I can't listen to music at all as it's too distorted, even on good days. On bad days, it's just more environmental noise in the background…could be a fan running, or the dishwasher, or a sonata. All the same to me! Environmental sounds are another problem, as I don't know where sound is coming from and can't ID what's making it. It's often much like the eternal tinnitus I have on both sides, just a lot of annoying senseless noise.

Most days, I'd qualify for a CI, but I'm not sure it wouldn't just bring in more confusion, that it would somehow end the distortion.

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@freezerman504

Adapting to hearing aids is different for each person.
For me I remember thinking these things suck. I hated them. Everything was so loud.
I could not understand anything better everything was just loud.
So I had an agreement with my wife. I would try them and if I didn't like them I wouldn't wear them. So after a couple months I decided I was done. About six months later the tinnitus got the better of me. I've been wearing them ever since.
Very important point about hearing aids. They are not glasses. You don't put them on and wala you can hear.
Aids have to be adjusted.
Usually multiple times.
In my case two years later I'm still having them adjusted.
The problem for me was I didn't know what I wanted. I just knew that the sound wasn't right.
I read the Hearing Aid Tracker forum everyday.
The forum is how I learned about my aids and everything else I know. I didn't think of the glasses thing I read that on the site.
Because of them I knew what to ask the audiologist to do. I had a warbling sound since I got the aids did not no why. Read about feed back manager. Went to the audiologist I got her to turn it off. Warbling disappeared. Other adjustments I've had is the result of the site.
The only way to adapt to hearing aids is you have to wear them everyday.
They're are a lot of smart people on the forum.
They tell you your brain has got to adapt to the aids. You haven't heard things for however long you've needed them. It takes a while for your brain to begin to recognize the sounds.
I laughed at this. I thought they were nuts.
They're not. It's real.
The thing is there are pieces to the puzzle.
Do you need open are closed domes.
Maybe you need moulds.
Each person is different.
No matter what do not be afraid to ask questions.
Advocate for yourself.
Audiologist use computer programs that fit your loss. They may are may not be correct.
It's up to you to educate yourself about your loss and what aids may be best for you.
The Hearing Aid Tracker
site is a good place yup start.

Jump to this post

@freezerman504
Hello,
Everything you posted are things I've learned over my 45 years of wearing aids.
What you have learned is valuable to other new users and even those who hear fine but don't understand what hearing loss is all about.
Our hearing fluctuates due to many things like stress
,caffeine and climate changes. I have always needed many adjustments and fine tuning.
You can help others and be an advocate for yourself.
Good for you for giving aids a second chance and finding a website that can help you.
If you have any questions or new info to impart, I would love to hear from you .

FL Mary

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