Where to go next!

#1

First time post, so a little history. Based in UK, I’ve had tinnitus in both ears for around 20 years but not so bad that it usually bothers me. Recently I exposed my right ear to a loud noise which created a different tinnitus sound in that ear only in addition to the original noise. There is also a slight distortion of sound in the right ear now. This I can accept, however, but I do struggle sometimes to understand people in one to one conversations and in places with a lot of background noise. I am constantly guessing what is said or having do say “what” a lot. It is getting very frustrating.

All of this I explained to both a local audiologist and a consultant at my local hospital. Their conclusions were that there was nothing wrong with my hearing other than aged related loss of high frequencies.and that hearing aids would not help. You can see from my audiogram, that it is only above 4Khz that things tail off.

Has anyone else had similar experiences, and what did you you do about it?

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#2

Welcome to the forum.
I deal with tinnitus also, about 40 something years. The tinnitus started like variable high frequency sounds, like locusts. As I got older it added lower frequencies that become more constant sounds. Now the 90+dB tinnitus has gotten into the 2-3000 hz areas.
The distortion in your right ear after the loud noise could warrant a visit to the ENT. Maybe one of the pros will join it to help with that issue.

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#3

If you plot your hearing loss on a speech banana you will see that your hearing is pretty good. But, you are probably losing the f, s, and th sounds at the higher frequencies, as well as the sound of some birds. I would disagree with the statement that hearing aids would not help. I believe they would bring back some of the speech recognition. As for the tinnitus what many find is that when you use hearing aids background noise is elevated and the tinnitus becomes less noticeable. I presume your issue is that NHS does not want to prescribe and pay for them? If so, I believe some in the UK buy from Costco to get a better price when paying out of their pocket. At least with Costco if you don’t like them, then there is no problem taking them back.

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#4

At one time my hearing was like yours and was also told that hearing aids wouldn’t help. I did fine and ignored the tinnitus. My hearing has gradually gotten worse and I now wear hearing aids although I still do pretty well without them. If I were you I would be inclined to avoid loud noises and to get your hearing checked every year or two, or if you notice you’re having more troubles.

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#5

Thanks for the advice. Both NHS and private audiologists said hearing aids wouldn’t help much. For the moment I’ll put up with things how they are but will definitely have regular checks in case things get worse.

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#6

Here is what a hearing aid would typically do with that kind of loss. It shows the gain applied vs frequency. A 3 dB difference is about the minimum one can hear. It sounds just a bit louder. A 10 dB gain is a doubling of the perceived sound level. As you can see at low frequencies under 1 kHz you would probably not notice any difference. From 1 to 2 kHz there may be a slight gain. The biggest difference would be at 6 to 8 kHz. Sound level would double in your right ear, and more than double in your left. This is the frequency where some higher frequency speech is, along with the sound of birds chirping. However even at that, hearing will not be restored to a level one would have without any loss.

The thing I have learned about hearing loss and use of a hearing aid is that with lower levels of loss the hearing aids work very well, but with higher levels of loss they have a lot of compromises. And when you wait until your hearing loss is pretty bad, as I did, then you have missed those years when a hearing aid would have been a lot more pleasant to use.

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#7

Thanks Sierra - it makes me think I should try another audiologist who might think it is worth me trying hearing aids now.

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#8

If you are going to be paying out of pocket and have access to a Costco, you might want to get a test done there. Assuming it is like North America, there is no cost for the test and their lowest priced Kirkland Signature HA would be an easy good fit for your loss. I suspect you would have no issues in having them well fitted. Their return policy is excellent as well if you decide against them.

But, there are hassles in wearing a HA, and you can obviously get away without one, so that’s a decision you would have to make. Is it worth it?

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#9

I can relate a lot to your question. My loss isn’t that bad compared to someone with more hearing loss than me, so do I really need to give myself something that will help me? I have asked myself that question for about ten years, on and off. But I now know that I can turn it around, too. I am working with a room full of people who all have better hearing than me. They all have two really excellent ears with normal hearing all the way. So why am I going around pretending that is me too, and pretending that a hearing aid would not apply to me? It absolutely helps my hearing.

No one knows what it’s like to have my hearing exactly, except me. Only I have this hearing and this brain and this personality. I have a talent for languages and I have 100% word discrimination in both ears in the little booth test. But that’s not reality at all. Compared to normal hearing people, I was working harder, concentrating more, to understand speech without a hearing aid. A lot of times, it was no problem. But even with all my skill and focus, I was starting to get tired and not able to do it as well anymore in noisy and/or complex listening situations. Also, people with soft, high-pitched voices were really draining my energy as I had to listen harder in order to make sure I understood them.

Now, if someone is walking on my bad side, it sounds like they are talking through a play telephone. I can understand, but sounds a bit electronic, which takes getting used to, or maybe needs fine tuning. Before, they would sound more muffled. I would reposition where I was when I felt uncomfortable, in order to be in the best listening position. I still do that, but I do have more freedom to speak from greater distance and more flexibility. Even though it sounds a bit unnatural compared to the good side, I am understanding more easily. When someone is not directly on my bad side, it sounds much clearer and better than it was before. It’s totally worth it in all situations. I am really looking forward to my tune up session and hope that it can sound even better.

Someone might say…“You have one good ear so don’t bother…” I guess I would ask if they would like to be half blind in one eye, even if glasses could improve things a lot, would you recommend that person go without?

Looking at your audiogram, you can absolutely say it’s not as severe as some other people… but it’s not what normal hearing people have. I am surprised that anyone would discourage you from being able to communicate and listen more easily and comfortably. I hope you will find a hearing help solution that works for you and feels comfortable for you, at the right time.

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#10

you can definelty get hearing aids and make your own decision as to whether they help or not. I am sure they will help. One option is Cosctco the other is on line thru a vendor such as Audicus, reasonable price Hansaton hearing aids, and a free trial. Just upload the exam and they will program them. As you have a mild loss either of the above will ve perfectly fine for you.

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#11

Thanks for the support. I’m based in the UK and was wondering if anyone has used Hearingdirect?

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#12

I have used Hearing Direct, and had a trial of aids from them. I returned them because I was able to get NHS aids. They seem to be well established, with a good reputation. The audiologist I spoke to was very helpful, and was able to programme the aids to suit my hearing loss.
https://www.hearingdirect.com/media/wysiwyg/HD_430_RIC_User_Guide.pdf .They are supplied to Hearing Direct by a company in the USA.

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#13

I’m in the UK and go to Costco. If you are near London or Southampton, have a look at Costco, their prices are very good.

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#14

In the past I tried to go to Costco but they were business only and while I might have managed to get accepted I gave up, this was in the UK.
I never managed to find a price list, if you have one could you send it to me please.
I’m happy with my NHS Nathos aids, so I doubt that I would pay for aids but I’m interested to know what’s available.

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