Fear and Anxiety prior to and during hearing tests

Hi - I am new to hearing loss, waking up with sudden healing loss 4 months ago in my right ear. My left ear had existing loss from years ago (noise related) and is worse than my right. I am a music producer and composer/mixer, and musician

For me, every hearing test carries an intense fear and anxiety with it, including the hearing tests that are part of the hearing aids fitting process. I am trialing some different models and makes as we speak, meaning this step is necessary. I lock into the thoughts, “will it be worse? am I going to lose all of my hearing? what if mild to moderate becomes moderate severe, or worse? Would that mean I’m going deaf and sentenced to slowly fade from the world of communication? what if Speech recognition gets worse?” I know some of this is in the realm of possibility, so I’m not worrying needlessly. At the same time, have a test with my heart beating in my head, and second guessing every tone that I hear or think I hear doesn’t help that process. I know at home, if I play test tones in high end headphones, I sometimes don’t think I hear the tone, but realize when I press stop that I was hearing them, and instantly hear them when I press play again. That, to me, would be an accurate measure to enter in the audiogram, but an audiologist wouldn’t enter that, they would only enter a db amount that I heard right away.

Anyway - i wanted to see if anyone had any strategies or methods of working with this intense anxiety. I have new hearing aids arriving today, and some other trials about to start, and I almost want to just take them off and cancel any other trials and not bother with any of it.
Thanks

I use to stress myself when doing the hearing test, I would strain to hear the tones and stress over the word recognition test. And in doing so my aids were never correctly fitted for my real needs. About 5 years ago I decided not to strain to hear the tones and I stopped worrying about the word recognition test. In stead of stressing I decided to make it a pleasant game. My audiogram looked worse but my hearing aids are better adjusted and I am less stressed overall because I can hear better with my aids.

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I’m wondering about this too. I can recognize words with people in real life. The WR test doesn’t seem to be about the real world at all. Was that your thinking? Kinda like: “if I can recognize most words in day to day life, who cares about the test?”

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Someone here recommended a book; I’ve read it and it helped me so much.

HEAR & BEYOND,
Live skillfully with Hearing Loss
Shari Eberts & Gael Hannan

It’s helped me improve my communication skills. I’ve referred it to my audiologist.

My take–if you’re recognizing words in real life you’re doing really really well.

I’ve been trying hard to get the same hearing aids set up so I can recognize words better. I’ve heard many times “your hearing aids aren’t working” I think I’m past that now.

@cvkemp your comments are perfect! Thanks!

DaveL
Toronto

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@user172

Have you spoken to your Dr with regard to your anxiety and stress? Perhaps getting some medical help could be a possibility for you. As your fear is all psychological and can be helped. Is your anxiety level strictly related to your hearing loss? Or does it effect other areas of your life as well?

quote=“user172, post:1, topic:75188”]
will it be worse?
[/quote]

Hearing aids are not a “cure” for your hearing loss, but will help you hear better if fitted properly and you wear them.

At this stage of your hearing loss journey, you are panicking over every little detail you can think of. Even if 20+ yrs into the future you can get more powerful HA’s than what you require now, but this is way into the future.

My speech recognition was as low as 26%. Others on the forum are worse. Further help is available, I had a cochlear implant my speech recognition is now 94%. So when your WRS gets severe enough further help is available if you ever need it.

You are very lucky you can hear some high frequencies, as I can’t hear any. Many others on this forum can’t hear high frequencies either. I had to give up playing pipes as I couldn’t blow a true pitch anymore. I couldn’t hear what pitch/tone the person next to me was blowing.

I can understand your anxiety about your hearing loss as it directly relates to your career. If you can’t hear you won’t have a career or salary coming in. Do try to stress less, as your not helping yourself with all this anxiety you carry in your head.

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I freak out seeing my Doctor, I think it’s called white coat syndrome. I’d call it anxiety for sure. I had to keep my blood pressure below 140 for my CDL, which caused more anxiety and higher BP. My solution was slow and deep breathing. Worked for me.

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Well @user172 … According to one of our esteemed resident Audiologists @Um_bongo… Most Word Recognition Scores (WRS), are basically not worth the paper they are written on, mainly I think because there is no exact methode in calculating these scores, so they appear pointless to me, so that is one less thing to worry about… But as per usual YMMV. I like Chucks method @cvkemp, of turning the “Pure Tone Test”, into a game…Excellent idea Chuck :grin: I used to stress myself out, because I have severe Tinnitus, sometime I was unsure if it was my Tinnitus or the pure tone I was hearing… Nowadays though, its water off a ducks back, I don’t get fazed either way, we get it right or we get it wrong… There doesn’t seem much point in worrying about it… Cheers Kev :wink:

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Would doing a self test help? That way you would be forewarned about any changes. Most manufacturers have self test facilities ( called insitu ).
You would need the software and a noah wireless-see PVC diy school.
There are also some informative word recognition tests online for comparative results.

In relation to anxiety, my daughter suffers from this rather badly. She sort professional help, they didn’t want to put her on prescription medication as she was very young…

I’m not advocating you try this without consulting your Dr!

They told her to take Vit D with the seasons of the year. Summer take one, Autumn take 2, Winter take 3 and Spring take 2. It worked so well that she only takes 1 a day now.
This simple vitamin tablet has bought her anxiety levels right down, so she can manage her day and family without it being riddled with anxiety.

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Not quite what I said (:wink:).

WRS do have a role. BIG changes are certainly relevant, especially in establishing whether your hearing resolution is slipping. The whole ‘I lost 5% in my WRS since last year’ thing is what gets my goat though. Using WRS like this is performative nonsense - especially when it’s combined with the economic argument about upgrading Hearing Aids.

However, if you want a reasonable instantaneous A:B test in a controlled environment, WRS is fine and it gives the client confidence in the fitting.

If you want an objective result this year and next, use REAR and actual speech.

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thanks for this - what is “REAR?” and do you mean have the audiologist talk instead of that recording that sounds like Rod Serling (Twilight Zone) in the 50s?

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Thanks all for the awesome replies. I want to , and need to, work on relaxing, not trying to control what I can’t, seeing these tests merely as a baseline for HA efficacy, and allowing things to unfold as they will. I am grateful today for the hearing I do have. Some people have no hearing loss and many have much worse hearing loss, and mostly everybody adapts in time, in their own way. I’m grateful for this community and for the supportive responses.

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Agreed @Um_bongo :grin: I am probably reading too much between the lines, but I stand corrected… As always :upside_down_face:

I totally understand the anxiety of the tests and dread that your results will show further hearing loss. You didn’t mention your music as the source of your concern, but rather the potential isolation and inability to communicate. We are living with ever-improving technological advances in hearing, so much so that every three or four years new HAs offer improvement - sometimes even despite a decline in our hearing. Your hearing is your hearing regardless of how it shows on the test, so you don’t improve it or make it worse by working hard on the testing. The testing is just to find the best fit for your HAs. It took me a while to realize that. I went for a test after realizing my hearing had been worse for a while. My left ear had tanked and I was devastated Then I realized nothing in my life had changed, I just had printed evidence. I was functioning, and finding ways to adapt already. Eventually I decided to look for hope for the next step in the journey and started researching cochlear implants just to know there was an option out there for later. It helped to know there was a next step that allowed me to stay engaged. There is no doubt hearing loss is a tough road, but you are doing everything right by learning about options, trialing HAs, asking questions. Glad you reached out.

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It’s a form if REM, stands for; Real Ear Aided Response.

It’s the full dB SPL output of the aid. When you use this with a speech related target (aka Live Speech Mapping) and actual speech and speech noise/noise in the background, you can objectively improve fittings.

Otherwise, it’s pretty much a case of tweaking and asking ‘Does that sound better?’

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Relaxing…I need to as well. I’ve done lots of work and learned a little.

Holistic–
I use a liquid called Passion Flower. It’s available at health food stores. It really settles me down. It smells bad…Dr Oz recommended it on his show years ago for stress relief. I buy a small bottle with an eye dropper dispenser
Rescue Remedy is one of the Bach Flower essences. Health food stores. Comes in a smaller bottle. It also comes as a lozenge, and that works really well in my car. My holistic vet recommended it years ago, and I’ve used it ever since. Bach Flower has a number of products. I use another of theirs called Mimilus. Fear of known things.

Please PM me if you wish to learn more.

Oh…I used to work really hard to hear all those frequencies…I understand.

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I have found, as I’ve gotten older, that there’s really no point in stressing out over something I have no control over. And I’m a guy who sits in that sound proof both for stretches at a time just twiddling my thumbs. Accept the fact that you have a loss and deal with as best you can. Remember, it’s that kind of thinking that prevents some people from ever seeing a doctor

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I do the same.
A Zen Monk taught me a saying…“That’s not a thought I want in my head”.

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This entire post was extremely helpful. wise words, and a caring feeling. Thank you.

So glad. FYI, I am 3 months post activation for my Advanced bionics brand cochlear implant and having great success. Together with my linked HA, music sounds wonderful. I took the leap early rather than waiting. My audiogram shows my hearing prior to my CI.

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