Eyes Like Saucers! — Tinnitus Maskers Trial at Audiologist

Discussion in 'Support' started by Zimichael, Jan 11, 2014.

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    1. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      :arghh: - LPA - :arghh: - LPA - :arghh: - LPA - :arghh: - LONG POST ALERT!!!

      So, after the revelation of that temporary tinnitus inhibition c/o the Xino Tinnitus hearing aid website demo, I hustled as soon as possible to find an audiologist who carried them. After some phoning around, much to my surprise I found that a local hearing aid place in town stocked the Starkey model, and some others brands. Seeing as the set-up appointment and a trial period were all free, I jumped on it!

      Usually for anything medically sophisticated I have to head down to a bigger city (Santa Rosa) which is a pain, so was expecting a rather mediocre showing in my smaller town scene. That impression disappeared as soon as I walked in. I have seen enough docs and charlatans in the last 20 years to have a very well developed BS/idiot detector in health matters. The staff were impressive, and the audiologist running the place was a force of nature. My hopes soared.

      I was soon in the hearing booth getting an audiogram then answering questions about my long standing tinnitus and subsequent hyperacusis. I also made it plain that I had almost had a spiritual experience getting the first change/decrease in my tinnitus volume in ‘forever’ c/o the Starkey Xino demo, so let’s just cut to the chase and start with that model!

      The audiologist (older and experienced) said that from her experience I should give the Widex Zen a chance too and to try that first, as many patients just go: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh….” as soon as they put it on. I was pumped and ready to try anything, so just nodded and said: “Well let’s get on with it then, I don’t need any convincing.”

      I was led forthwith into a fancy office with computers all around and a huge flat panel LCD screen on the wall. She sat me down at a table facing it, handed me a wireless mouse and started inputting my audiogram data into the main computer. She then handed me a couple of small Widex Zen hearing aids to put on then directed me to the screen where I clicked suitable options as they came up. It took about 10 minutes of fine-tuning to get the initial setup done, then she told me to just play around with it for 15 minutes and see if there was anything that felt right or helped. She left to see other patients and I fiddled.

      I was non-plussed. I tried all kinds of nice melodious riff raff and cool chimes, but did not get the point really. It was just more sounds in my head. What was the point of more sounds? I already had more than enough! So when she came back in to see how I was doing I said this was not for me…it was just like nice music or something and I don’t listen to music unless I’m working out on my Stairmaster. I prefer silence any day of the week!

      “But doesn’t it mask the ringing then? Don’t those ‘Zen’ wind chimes and so sound nicer than the screeching?”

      I just laughed…”You don’t understand. It’s just MORE sound with that stuff added. I want LESS sound in my head. I want masking!”

      “But it is masking to most people.”

      “Not to me, it doesn’t have a hope in hell of covering over the tinnitus unless it blew the roof off this place in volume”.

      She looked puzzled, so I suggested we just go to the one I heard online and forget the rest. She called for a young assistant who fitted me up with the Xino Tinnitus then hung around to watch as she re-worked the computer.

      “OK, you are familiar with this from what you told me so why don’t you guide the tone and frequency choices.”

      “Sure” I said, and started playing around the interface with my mouse clicks. But was soon frustrated… “Ummmmm, can’t we change the pitch? This isn’t right, it needs to be higher and more ‘ringy’ than this.” I was listening through the aids in my ears while they listened to what I was doing on the monitor speakers.

      We fiddled and faddled for about 20 minutes and I was confused.

      “How come I can’t just set this thing to find my pitch of tinnitus and then jack the volume up to match it? Sounds simple to me?!”

      But, it seemed that the pre-designated “zones” were dumber or more limited than we were able to find or work out…“This is what they offer” she said, obviously sensing my frustration. My hopes were spiraling down into Hades – until I got a bright idea.

      “Can we get the internet on this thing?”


      “Well please just pull up the Starkey site I was on and lets do that website test gizmo dealyhick and you will see what I mean. It’s much closer to what I’m looking for.”

      So she pulled up the site. I clicked through the sequence and got my…Mmmm, only about 10 seconds of inhibition! Must be all the “acclimation” sounds I had been fiddling with dampening my ear-brain’s enthusiasm for something new.

      “OK, can we get close to this on the main program with the aids?”

      “Sure”…and she went at it to match that pretty close.

      “Good” I said. “That will do for now as I can obviously fine tune it later right?”


      “Cool…So, if this is going to mask my tinnitus at all we are going to jack the volume up, so can you do that?”

      “Ummmm…are you sure, it’s already pretty loud.”

      I of course was still staring at the screen, fiddling with the little moving boxes thinggie to try and get the tone more lined up. The two of them were behind me at the computer terminal.

      “Yeah, this is nothing. Turn it up!”….. “More!”….. “More!”….. “More – OK, about there!”

      I was not hearing my tinnitus that much as the screech from the hearing aid was matching it. Great! I think…if I get inhibition through long term use, this could work. So I looked round at the audiologist lady and the young assistant with a ‘thumbs up’. Until I saw their faces.

      They were staring at me with eyes as big a saucers, sort of in a state of shock or something.

      “What?...What?...What’s the matter?” I asked.

      She turned the computer off and the room went quiet…well, except inside my head of course. There was a stunned silence for about 10 seconds, and then the audiologist lady said, very carefully and slowly… “If we were to set the device at that volume, you would be totally deaf in both ears within 24 or 48 hours at most. Massive hearing damage.”

      “Ummmmmm…How come? It did not sound that loud to me, well from my internal viewpoint at least.”

      “That’s because you are basically deaf in that frequency range. But even I have temporary tinnitus right now just from listening to that volume level, for two minutes!” She looked at her young assistant, with an obvious invitation to add something... “Well, yes, yes, it was very loud. Very loud even for me and I’m used to loud music from parties and stuff. I’m no the expert, but I would say you would be insane to turn it up that high.”

      “It is that high in my head!...But I think I’ve just saved myself $6,000 to make myself 100% deaf, as I can see from your expressions you’re not kidding. I guess I just don’t have an objective…ahhh, ‘measure’ of this beast. How can I if I’m deaf there?!”

      “INDEED!” would be the only appropriate answer.

      I thanked them for their time and input and left them still semi-stunned and open-mouthed. I could read their thoughts… This guy LIVES with that volume in his head ALL the time???!!! He must be nuts.

      Yep…but it’s not exactly a choice is it!!!

      Just have to “carry on” as the Brits say.

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    2. Smoogle

      Smoogle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      After your last story, I practically expected them to summon their acolytes into the room afterwards in hushed tones, take off their robes, and explain that you're the chosen one and have the one T to rule them all.

      All the same, what an experience! Thanks for sharing that with us.

      I'm sorry they couldn't find anything that would work for you without blowing up your ears. :oops:
      • Funny Funny x 1
    3. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Smoogle... Well, actually, if the young assistant had taken off her robes I probably would have forgotten about my tinnitus for a short while! Actually, the lady audiologist would also have done the trick as was "impressive".
      However, that did not happen, nor did Gandalf show up with his magic wand....ummm, stick....no, staff/stave...whatever, to magically make my tinnitus "inhibit in fear".

      So the crawl to Mt. Doom or salvation via ???? continues....
    4. Craig Watson

      Craig Watson Member

      Derry, NH
      Tinnitus Since:
      Thanks for sharing sharing your trial, Z. I have been considering trying the Zen, until now. I don't need more sounds in my head. Between the tinnitus and those crazy voices it's noisy enough in there.
    5. dan

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      If you are deaf at that frequency range, of course you would need to blast the volume up, but it doesn`t necessarily mean that your tinnitus that actual loudness.
      You have to subtract your hearing loss in dB from the actual applied dB level, to find out the approximate loudness of your tinnitus.
    6. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Craig...Agreed! Enough darn sound in there already.

      Dan...Ummmmm. I guess I was not in there to try and see how loud my tinnitus was objectively speaking, but I guess that could be useful. I see the drop off on the audiogram graph where the tinnitus is, as it goes from some 10's in the 500-2, 000 Hz, then (below the thick 20 marker line) to 30 at 5,000 Hz, and to 40 db at 6,000 Hz. I'm not sure if that means dB loss? or what...Also, no idea how loud the decibel level was on the volume switch as they turned it up, and up, and up, to mask my ringing. I guess a portable dB meter would have said, but it was clear from the "Saucers look" and shock, that I was not going that route anyway.

    7. Della

      Della Member Benefactor

      Austin, Texas USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi @Zimichael, I know you posted this back a ways, but I just stumbled on it and I LOVED your story!! With all of its details and descriptions! Quite an experience indeed. Makes me wish once again that we had a virtual reality device we could make our health "professionals" wear to get an idea of what we go through!

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