Just ordered HA, this has been an experience; Audiologists, hearing loss, tinnitus, recruitment


#1

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.


#2

Welcome! You came to the right place to share your experience here and ask questions.

It’d be interesting to see your hearing loss posted as a reference up front so everyone can relate more easily to you and your loss. Around here, it’s kinda like your personal signature


#3

Makes too much sense. Looks like you found a good fitter after experiencing one of those that wasn’t qualified. Recruitment isn’t that common but shows up with people here regularly.

6700 was overpriced. In a competitive market 6200 would be the high end quote and some would get down to 5200. That is for bundled pricing where you get all supplies for at least 3 years. You can get unbundled quotes from some but I wouldn’t first time around. Costco would be half that. If you can get your aids from the police department paying, after all they caused it, go with what looks like the very good audiologist you found.

Aid brands are secondary to finding a good fitter. You may find you have a preference for one that sounds best for you but right now you need someone you can depend on. It’s a learning curve and not a generally pleasant one. Adopting to aids is a process that can take months. You’ll get to know the audiologist as a friend.

You are a difficult client to fit well. Know that its is a longer term process.


#4

I realize that now, and I asked the audiologist to send me a copy as he did not supply me a copy at the time, I will post it as soon as I get it.

Thank you!


#5

Costco said they had no hearing aids with a tinnitus feature. I have retired from the police department over 38 years ago. Pretty sure they would just laugh at me.

Thank you.


#6

That is correct about Costco. There’s not a lot of verifiable science around tinnitus treatment. Lots of anecdotal.


#7

Costco basically doesn’t want to deal with tinnitus. However, if you had a phone that streamed to your hearing aids, it would be easy to stream some sort of masking sound, which is what most tinnitus programs do.


#8

I made tinnitus masking one of my ‘must have’ features when selecting my hearing aids. It turned out not to be what I was thinking it would be.

I thought it would be more of a frequency matching that would cancel out most of the tinnitus noise and would run in the background whenever I was wearing my hearing aids. It turned out to be a selection of White Noise, Pink Noise, Red Noise, 1 of 4 Shaped Signal Noises, or Ocean Sounds.

So what I have is 1 of my programs set for tinnitus masking. I used it for an hour or so, once or twice a week for tinnitus relief, for the first month I had my OPN 1 aids and haven’t used it since. Like @MDB says, I could have gotten the same thing with an app on my phone.

Depending on what you’re looking for in tinnitus relief, don’t rule out Costco yet.


#9

cop704 - My wife also has tinnitus and her ENT believes it’s related directly to her Meniere’s. As others have mentioned before Costco doesn’t sell aids with tinnitus masking and Kim was concerned that it would be an issue. We tried aids from her Audi and from Costco and the Costco aids (Bernfon Zerena) have worked miracles for her. She too had the pain from loud sounds and we left many restaurants and other places that were too loud. She’s had a great experience with Costco.
Remember, you can try Costco for 6 months and return them for a full refund if you’re not happy!


#10

My tinnitus is basically gone when I have my HA’s(Oticon) in my ears, so who knows you may not even need a tinnitus masking HA.

Perhaps you should go to the police department or police union where you worked and file a claim for permanent hearing loss caused by shooting 500 rounds per week without hearing protection and request that they provide payment for your hearing aids. When I was a kid in the late 60’s my ENT told me to never shoot guns, never go to rock concerts and never use power tools without noise suppressing hearing protection. The PD obviously had no common sense in telling you that you wouldn’t have time to put hearing protection on in the field because they failed to figure that it was highly unlikely that out in the field you would be shooting 500 rounds a week at the bad guys. I’m not a lawyer but I think you would have a case if you went after them. Good luck!


#11

Thank you for responding. I have heard from a couple of people now that with HA their tinnitus does not bother them. I hope that is the case with me.

I have no hard feelings with the police department. It is what it is. Things were different in the 70’s OSHA was only passed in 1970. I am sure that the P.D. thought their philosophy was the right one. I can tell you this, it taught you not to flinch when you pulled the trigger. The argument could be made that I damaged my ears playing in a rock and roll band. It’s just not worth the hassle. I’m not a litigious person. Hell I’m 69 years old, whose to say my hearing wouldn’t be crap by now anyway.

Then they could always use the defense that I have been married for 48 years and listening to my wife screaming at me could have caused the hearing loss. :joy: If your reading this Honey I’m only kidding.

As far as me shooting 500 rounds at a bad guy, you never know, I wasn’t a very good shot.


#13

Well two out of the three things I was told not to do by my ENT in 1968, you did, so it doesn’t surprise me that you have hearing loss and tinnitus at age 69.

I worked in a mill right out of HS in the late 70’s and was the only one to wear hearing protection. One day OSHA came in to do a sound study and when they saw me they asked why I was the only one wearing hearing protection, I told them what my ENT told me and left it at that.


#14

Oh, I did I forget to mention that I worked for Caterpillar Tractor company three different times. Two of those times I was working out in the factory. No ear protection there either. But I have a good excuse. I was stupid. You know when you are young you feel like you are invincible.


#15

seb: It’s interesting to me that you even had a conversation with an ENT when you were young regarding protecting your ears. I was in and out of hospitals with various ear ailments and have no recollection of being warned (let alone actually listening/obeying :slight_smile: ) about protecting the ears. I more became ultra-sensitive to anything going on near my ears than to protect them.
As talked about in the thread about how we lost our hearing…as with cop704…my loss was probably self-inflicted. While standing in the barn eyeing the horse out in the distance…too little too late for me.


#16

It probably helped that my mom worked as a nurse at the hospital and knew the doctor.


#17

That would help.
And yet where you’re standing now, your ears have betrayed you and now you’ve missed all those moments of modern life like concerts and firing guns and running power tools and getting that muffled ringing in your ears like everyone else who enjoyed those activities.
Jeez now I’m sounding rather maudlin.
So I don’t know. And yet I know people in their 80’s who can hear the slightest whisper across the room. Dang them. :slight_smile:


#18

My first experience with hearing loss was when I was 8 years old. I had 40% loss in my right ear. Also loss in my left ear but not severe. The ENT said that my adenoids were so large they were causing pressure problems with pressure against my ear drums. Took out my tonsils as well. I don’t know if that even makes sense, but I do remember that he would shoot a puff of air up my nostril to pop my ear-drum out. It really hurt. Apparently I had negative pressure caused by the Eustachian tube being pinched. Whatever he did it worked because after the operation my hearing improved dramatically. Prior to the operation I had suffered a lot of painful infections and drainage from my ear. Funny how I had actually completely forgot about that.


#19

I haven’t really missed anything I have only gone to one concert ( country) and thinking that it would be quieter than a rock concert and foolishly went without even ear plugs and my ears rang worse than normal for about three days. I have also shot guns with ear protection, but didn’t enjoy it and choose not to do it. As to running power tools I taught Industrial Arts for five years and have been a contractor for many years so I use power tools on a daily basis but always with hearing protection. Yes, my ears have betrayed me but the ENT also told me my hearing would most likely get worse and it was up to me to slow it down by protecting what I had left. He must of been persuasive because at age 10 I listened and have been following his advice all these years and was able to push off getting HA’s until my early 50’s although I probably needed them ten years earlier, so I really haven’t missed anything, I just showed and used caution when doing activities that I was instructed not to do.


#20

Well there you go then.

I’ve been to a handful of concerts (they’re so expensive), I’ve done a total of two shots with guns, on a few occasions running power tools not bothering…unprotected. One concert I went to I didn’t “waste” my ears on the warm-up act and stayed out in the halls. I’ve only had a few outings with guns at a range with an in-law. I mostly wear protection running power tools.

It’s the “instructed not to do” part that strikes me.

I tell whatever young person might care to listen to protect their hearing. They only get one set. Now I have to add…but even still your ears might betray you later on anyway. But give them their best chance for craps sake.


#21

My situation is similar to COP704. A lot of unprotected shooting, then a lot of rock concerts. I think we also have hereditary hearing loss in my family. I too have tinnitus and recruitment. I have aids but they don’t help my hearing or the tinnitus. They do have a tinnitus block feature, but it is just white noise and I found it very annoying. From what I understand, tinnitus occurs in the brain, not the ear, so it varies a lot between individuals. It does seem to establish a certain background level below which, nothing can be heard. I would insist on some kind of trial of any aids you might be considering. For what they cost, you don’t want to buy something you later decide isn’t helping.