I am new here so thank you for allowing me to post. Please understand I have a lot more questions than I do knowledge.
I have always known I have had a hearing loss. Also severe tinnitus. In the 60’s I was in a locally popular rock and roll band. In the 70’s I was a police officer and we were not allowed to use ear protection at the range. We practiced every week firing at least 500 rounds. Wearing hearing protection was thought to be counter productive… “You’re not going to have time to put ear plugs in when a bad guy is shooting at you. Suck it up buttercup!”
So about a month ago I met a nice man, Scott and his wife, Tamara. We were at a gold prospecting outing. Scott mentioned that his wife was a former law enforcement officer like myself. Well you can’t have two former cops around a camp fire without a bunch of lies, I mean war stories being told. After exchanging stories I mentioned, “Well we both managed to have careers in law enforcement and came out relatively unscathed.” She responded, “Yep except for this tinnitus I’m plagued with.” I said, oh really, you too? She said that she was just about at her wits end when she found out about HA that had a tinnitus masker in them and it has changed her life.
I had never heard of such a thing. Last time I did a Google search on tinnitus about 15 years ago, I read some very familiar words. “Suck it up buttercup.”
After learning about these HA with a tinnitus masker, I told my wife. She said you go get a hearing test right now, because I am tired of you not being able to hear anything that is said to you. I told her, I can hear people, I just can’t understand what they are saying.
So I call some Audiologist that advertises a lot on the radio. I go to the appointment, he tells me basically what I already know. Moderate loss in the left ear, more severe in the right ear and the tinnitus makes the hearing more severe in a range where I can’t hear consonants. There you go! Hearing aids will be $6,700. I asked, what if they are too loud? He said what do you mean? I said I can’t stand anything loud. I can’t stand movies, I can’t tolerate the music in church, I can’t stand the sound of a power drill, I wear ear plugs all the time. He says, “Oh you must have “RECRUITMENT” too.” He didn’t explain what that was, and I didn’t want to ask. Have you ever been in a position where you are an “uninformed idiot?” That is not a slam, it’s just a state where you don’t even know enough about the subject to even ask intelligent questions. At some point you graduate into being an “informed idiot.” That is when you at least have done enough research to ask some relevant questions that might help you graduate from being an idiot into someone who is moderately educated.
So, I leave this audiologist office feeling a bit confused. $6,700 he wants for HA and I don’t even know if these HA (Starkey Muse IQ) will do anything for me. I wasn’t given a demonstration or anything. I also just had that “uneasy feeling.” Next day the Audi’s assistant calls me and says, “What did you think. What are you going to do?” I said I was still trying to research things. We hang up. Five minutes later she calls back and says, the Audi wanted her to tell me that he wanted to give me a $1,000 discount. OK, now I really have an uneasy feeling. I mean, I felt like I was dealing with a used car sales person.
I finally decided to call Scott and Tamara and ask Tamara questions about her HA’s. She has Oticon OPN 1’s. So I checked and found out the Audi I went to first didn’t carry that brand, so that gave me a good excuse to go to a second Audiologist and get a second opinion.
Second Audiologist, totally different experience. This gentleman seemed to know what he was doing. I didn’t even mention “RECRUITMENT” because I didn’t even know what it was. He showed me on the computer screen where my right eardrum had scarring and said it appeared that maybe I had ruptured my eardrum at some point in time. I am a SCUBA diver and I could have suffered a barotrauma. I had a couple of bad episodes of not being able to clear my ears. Had slight bleeding and vertigo.
Then, during the test, he noticed me inside the booth, through the window, when I winced at some of the high tones. He said, “Does that sound hurt your ears.” I said yes, it is really painful. He said OK, let me finish this series of tests and then I want to test your level of sensitivity. After the tests he took the time and explained what “recruitment” was and that it was not uncommon to see it in people with tinnitus. However, he said it presented a bit of a challenge.
He said that he had to correct my hearing by raising certain frequencies into an area where I could understand them, but not so high that I would find them painful. He said he also was going to have to work to see if he could mask the tinnitus so I would at least find it bearable.
So does any of this make sense? I am probably explaining it all wrong. I mean I almost felt as if he was telling me that this may be a problem that is going to be hard to correct.
I certainly hope I can get some correction, some relief, some sanity. Living my life like this has really taken its toll. I sort of try to keep conversations to a minimum with my family because my kids are always commenting about having to repeat themselves with me because I don’t always understand what they say.
Has anyone else experienced this kind of hearing loss with tinnitus and recruitment? What has your success been with HA? Sorry for being so long winded, but if I knew exactly what I was talking about maybe I could be more concise. Thank you in advance.