Auditory Deprevation

#1

Is there anyone out there who has experienced this and if so, did your word recognition score improve after using hearing aids? The hearing in my right ear is distorted and I score in the forties on word recognition. I score in the nineties in my left ear. When both ears are tested my score drops to the seventies. I guess this is due to the distortion from my right ear. It must confuse the brain.
I have heard it can take years of using hearing aids to recover from the effects of auditory deprivation.
I hate to spend the money for an aid for the right ear and suffer the effects of it lowering my word recognition, unless I think it will eventually improve.

If you have had any experiences in this area can you please answer the following questions:

What did your distortion sound like?

How long before you saw any improvement?

How much did your word recognition improve?

Would you recommend I purchase an aid for the right ear?

Thanks for any info on this subject.

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#2

From what I see of your audigram you need aids for both ears. Your left hear is as bad or worse then my worse hearing with out aids. I can not speak to your distortion but it took me about 6 weeks to understand speach better. I was here things that I had not heard in years from the beginning but it took my brain about 6 weeks to adjust to the sounds and not throw up the alerts when it should not have.

I am now on my third pair of aids the first 2 were ITE aids and this new pair are RITE aids and believe you me I will take the RITE anytime. My hearing is now much more normal (for what ever that means). My stress level is much lower and my headaches are much less frequent.

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#3

I agree. You should be looking for HAs for both ears.
As you can see by my signature, I have great speech discrimination … at 100 db.
W/o my hearing aids, people need to be “in my face” for me to hear/understand them.
My loss has been progressive since 1991. I got HAs in 1998 (no, it was not the 7-year denial…they were not recommeneded. When I noticed the difference on the phone between the ears, I pursued HAs).
I’m sure having the HAs has helped keep my SD so high.

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#4

Have you had an MRI to rule out an acoustic neuroma or any other medical issues? This assymetrical loss is suspicious. I would rule out any medical conditions first, then seek fitting both ears. Good luck! I wish you all the best in resolving this issue.

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#5

CVkemp and Bluesumos, thanks for the input.

Michael McCroskey, good catch on the assymetrical loss. I woke up one morning and could not hear very well. My MD gave me some steroids to take. I took them but no change. I then went to have a hearing test. The audi who gave me the hearing test did not make any comment on the assymetrical loss (she has a Phd). All she did was to try to sell me $6000 worth of aids. I picked up the fact that could be a problem doing research on the internet. I did see a ENT who had me have an MRI done. The results were inconclusive. They did note that I have had a few mini strokes which could have caused it. I am just trying to figure out if, over time, my right ear speech discrimination will improve or not. Thanks for the input.

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#6

Please be aware that the advice above is well meant, but may not be entirely accurate, given your prognosis.

Forget everyting you think you ought to be doing. Your right ear is clearly not working as it should, specifically the addition of sound from this side appears to cause more scrambling of the incoming signal. Your question asks should you aid this ear: the answer has to be a very definite no. All you will end up doing is increasing the intensity of the poorly discriminated sound at the expense of the level in the better ear.

If you were to come to my practice with such a loss, after I was sure that all medical follow-ups have been undertaken, I would consider fitting you with a moderate power RIC instrument on the LEFT ear only. Furthermore, you’d probably want some control over the output/sharpness, so I’d also suggest a remote control.

If this type of aid wasn’t beneficial (not enough sound from the right) you might be a candidate for a CROS product like the Tandem, in order to maintain a degree of spatial awareness and localization.

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#7

UM bongo,
Thanks for the advice. I will certainly considerate it. What I hear with the right ear is distorted. It sounds “fuzzy”. Hard to describe. Have you heard someone play a comb? That vibration is added to the sound. The words are there just “fuzzy”. I was hoping it was the result of auditory deprivation and might correct itself some over time if aided. I hate to let it get worse as my left ear may go and then I am in big trouble. So you recommend a RIC in the ear for the left. What would be the best brand in your opinion? If your practice was around OK I would drop on in as it sounds like you know more than the locals. Interesting about the remote. I did not know they made such a thing. Thanks again

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#8

Take your pick from any of the majors, Phonak Audeo, the Agil RIC, or even the Verite RIC if cash is an issue. Personally I’d try the Unitron Passport Moxi first as it gives you a combined remote with volume level and a function called Smart-focus to sharpen the sound you need. Most of the aids feature a learning function to set the average output where you like. There’s also Siemens and Starkey product that will do a pretty good job.

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#9

Um bongo
Thanks for the info. The unitron passport moxi sounds like it would be good to try out. I just need to decide if I want to spend the money for one on my right ear. I know you and other professionals do not recommend it but I just hate to think it will never recover. Around here, all of the hearing aid folks charge you about $250 per aid if you elect to not keep them. It gets expensive when shop around with different aids.
Thanks again

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#10

I’ve had some minor hallucinations from sleep deprivation. It’s pretty normal.I looked in the mirror and my face looked green and kind of like it was melting.I use to think someone was walking behind me, etc. Pretty mild stuff. Of course, i wised up and learned to go to sleep since then.

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#11

I agree with Um Bongo. There are many cases like yours in which there is simply very limited benefit of fitting the right ear. I have had success fitting losses like yours in the past by fitting only the better ear, by fitting CROS system and with binaural fitting. I find the solution often varies depending on the wearer. I would however generally limit the amplification slightly in the right ear if a binaural fitting was attempted to try to achieve a situation in which your word discrimination is the same or better with both aids in than with just the left. As you’ve mentioned it is a very difficult thing to assess as it may take time for the adaptation to occur. Probably best to try the left aid first.

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#12

It has now been eight years since I asked this question. I decided to buy the second aid for my right ear and forced myself to wear it. In fact, sometimes,while watching TV or listening to music, I would take out the left aid and only use the right aid. It took a few years but what I hear in my right ear is now almost as good as what I hear in my left ear. I assume I have retrained my brain to recognize sounds received from the right ear. The right does need much more amplification but the sound is OK, no distortion. I am now shopping for my third pair of aids. Will probably go with the Phonak Brio 3 R-R.
Maybe I was just lucky but I suggest it is worth a try to others.

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