Hearing Aids

Discussion in 'Treatments' started by Louise, Oct 23, 2012.

tinnitus forum
    1. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      I'm wondering if anyone who has tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss has any experience with using a hearing aid to 'cure' tinnitus?

      The use of hearing aids to reduce/eliminate tinnitus is something that the Hearing Specialists sometimes recommend and I am thinking about going down this route.
       
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    2. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      I'm thinking about it too Louise (hiya :)) - just waiting a while before I do to see if it goes away on its own. I was referred to an audiologist after seeing a GP about the T in Cornwall but I was in France by the time the appointment arrived so didn't go. Not sure that I'd trust them to get it right.. that's the problem. What if hearing everything louder made my T worse... especially as I haven't got any hearing problems - just normal marginal high pitch loss. Confusion, confusion - what causes it.. what makes it worse.. what should I be doing/not doing.. indecision... talk about going round in circles!
       
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    3. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Louise -
      Many audiologist say that hearing aids can eliminate tinnitus by compensating for the hearing loss at the tinnitus frequencies. I think it's a great idea to try a hearing aid, if you can afford them.

      For many of us with tinnitus, it's due to age related hearing loss. At one time I was playing around with a sound generator, and I was amazed that I couldn't hear the sound generator set at 4kHz in my tinnitus ear. 4kHz happens to be the tinnitus tone that I hear. I found this to be quite remarkable.

      If you go to Wikipedia, look up "superior ollivary complex". These are brain organs where the signals from both the ears are meeting together. There are two of these organs, one on the left side and one on the right side.The function of the superior ollivary complex is to compare ear signals, to locate a sound source.

      If one of your ears has less signal than the other, the superior ollivary complex senses this imbalance. As a result of this imbalance, the superior ollivary complex sends a signal back to the ear along the efferent nerve to "crank up the volume". That's what's causing tinnitus. It's a form of feedback from an efferent nerve that has too strong a signal/current.

      If you wear a hearing aid, in theory this will balance the signal of the lost frequency experienced by the superior ollivary complex. Sensing that signals are within a normal balance, the superior ollivary complex does not send a signal back to the ear along the efferent nerve. Voila', the efferent nerve is no longer over stimulated, feedback is reduced or eliminated. That's the theory.

      I myself don't have hearing aides, but I've read they can fix tinnitus.
       
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    4. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Hi Karl,

      That's great information, thankyou for posting that. I will do some reading on superior ollivary complex.

      Its annoying that I asked the question as to whether a hearing aid would help sort it out to two audiologists 4 months ago and both said no and now I find out from two Hearing Specialists that it absolutely is a technique they use to help T.

      I wonder why more T people dont go down that route? I expect its the whole wearing a hearing aid thing. I dont want to either and would do it as a means of getting the ears back to normal and then weaning off the aid.

      The Hearing Specialist Im seeing says the T noise has always been there, but the brain has always had filters in place to stop it being heard. The filters get removed when the hearing loss happens to enable better hearing but that means the T can also be heard. If a hearing aid puts the sound back then the filters should get reapplied.

      If there is anyone reading this who has tried a hearing aid PLEASE do post to let us know how it went.
       
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    5. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Hi Click :)

      A hearing aid wouldnt help unless there's hearing loss. What level of loss do you have?

      It is all confusion as you say. On the one hand you are supposed to ignore it to 'habituate' then on the other hand most treatments work better the earlier you catch it and so you feel you have to make sure you find anything that can help.
       
    6. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      hiya

      'Nothing measurable' - this is what the private ENT consultant in Truro said after doing the hearing test (that was fun!). Just said it was marginal high freq loss that was totally normal - he also implied that a hearing aid wouldn't help. But he was referring to the high freq loss rather than the T!

      You can get pretty coloured ones and the latest 'in ear' electronic ones on the NHS - although I'd wear anything if it'd get rid of the T.. don't care what it looks like :rolleyes:

      Hearing aid is on my list that I'm going to present to the GP when I eventually have my 'visit about T' (along with the 'J' TRT book because apparently this is a good idea - to inform your GP who is likely to know nothing about T).

      Trouble is, because mine is so variable (it's not really there right now - just the tiniest faint tinkle about once every 10 minutes that I can barely hear... after 3 days - and nights!! of it screaming to hell and back) I want to wait to see if it goes on its own.

      Still not sure that it's the right decision tho!

      Jane
       
    7. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
    8. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Louise -
      The following is from an interview with tinnitus expert David Baguley, PhD., appearing in May 2006, "The Hearing Journal":

      "(Interviewer) I remember being taught that optimizing hearing with hearing aids can help many people with troublesome tinnitus."

      "(Dr. Baguley) That's correct, and for many patients this, and some simple information, is sufficient. ...Grant Searchfield, PhD, from New Zealand has convincingly summarized the arguments (some of which are longstanding) for hearing aid fitting as an essential element in tinnitus therapy for all patients except that minority with absolutely normal pure-tone audiometry. Further, Serchfield calls for the use of low-compression knee-points to enable the amplification of low-intensity environmental sounds to audible levels without eliciting discomfort to louder sounds.

      "So, hearing aids remain a powerful tool in the hands of the clinician seeing patients with troublesome tinnitus, even when hearing handicap is not a major issue."

      Hearing aides can be quite small, almost unnoticeable. However, in the U.S., many insurance companies don't cover the cost of hearing aides. They can be expensive. I don't know if they can be returned if they don't work. If they can be returned, then it's worth a shot.
       
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    9. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      That sounds good Karl - does this mean that they can adjust the hearing aid so that, although it's amplifying certain sounds, it's not going to increase the volume of the sounds that hurt? I was wondering about this before - I'd hate to have the high pitched sounds that still hurt my ears a bit increased in volume!

      Louise is in the UK so hopefully the expense will be absorbed by the NHS.
       
    10. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Brilliants Karl, thanks.

      I cant believe what I read there. So its known that hearing aids help and yet the NHS audiologist who saw me in the first 3 weeks of this flatly told me no and that I wouldnt even show a reading when being tested for an aid? Disgusting. I'm taking this quote to the doctor when Im ready and let the NHS pay for the aid. The NHS have been so bad through all this is just incredible.

      The Hearing Specialist I'm seeing doesnt want to go the hearing aid route yet, he wants me to try to habituate. I dont hold out much hope for that though.

      I hope someone replies who has used an aid. Although I think if people manage to get rid of it they wouldnt be on these sites anymore.
       
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    11. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      I agree Louise - it's almost as though we should know precisely what we need before we go to see the so-called experts!
       
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    12. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      So not quite the ear-trumpets I would exepct from the NHS! I bet you can get much smaller if you pay for them. I think I would get a free one from the NHS and if it worked then buy an ultra-thin invisible one!
       
    13. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      I had been thinking that too Click. But just assumed that they are set up by frequencies so only the ones you are low in get boosted. My Hyperacusis wouldnt tolerate it otherwise!
       
    14. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      me too - let's try it for free if we do decide to have one - why should we pay twice - we've already paid for the NHS :)

      Let's hope the person who adjusts them knows what he or she is doing because I couldn't stand it either - to have the high pitched noises even louder would be a killer.

      ps. i think i might like a trumpet one as well - just as an extra :cool:
       
    15. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Did he not give you a print out of your test Jane? Its definitely worth having another test I think. The NHS audiologist I saw said that they consider anything up to a 20db loss normal. He measured mine at 25db in the T ear. (Another audiologist measured it at 30db). So as far as he was concerned my hearing is 'normal', Thats rubbish though.

      I think its good to keep your doctor informed only because if you need a test or something like an aid or some latest drugs for it from the NHS then you're in a much better position for them to give you it.
       
    16. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Yes, it wouldnt get lost as easily. Like you and everyone else on here, I'd wear a brick on my ear to get rid of this.

      I'd get the aid from the NHS, let them set it up and then take it to the Hearing Specialist and let him set it up properly and manage it.

      I only found out (and by chance) on my second trip to the NHS audiologist that the NHS do have a 'tinnitus specialist'. Why didnt they tell me that 4 months ago when I was in pieces in there and in the doctors office? Just incredible isnt it? I've been referred to that specialist by the way. Probably will take months and be the same thing as the hearing Specialist does.
       
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    17. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      Didn't get a print out Louise - I'd probably have thrown it back at him anyway.. the state I was in at the time. It was only a short time after the T started and, although he was sympathetic, it was my visit to the ENT that made me lose faith in anyone coming up with a solution... he was sympathetically useless!

      I don't even have a GP at the moment though. After moving back to Hampshire I haven't yet registered. Trying to keep away from waiting rooms with all those germs!

      I agree though - once I get one I will ask to see an audiologist and another ENT (this time through the NHS). I've heard that there are some tinnitus experts at a hospital in Southampton (it's a training and research hospital which always helps) and we can choose here whether to see consultants at Southampton or the new QA super duper all the latest technology one in Havant.

      I think I may ask for a 'long' appointment when I do get to a new GP - it's going to take far more than a standard appointment to go through my 'list'.
       
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    18. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      I like your style :)
       
    19. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      click -

      That's a very good question.

      (Let me find my Danny Kaye professor's hat ...I know it's around here somewhere...Yeah, there it is. Ok, let's get on with the show!)

      The sound we hear is a complex mixture of pure sinusoidal tones. Tinnitus is usually a pure tone. Many researchers are of the opinion that tinnitus is caused by a voltage from an efferent nerve associated with the sinusoidal pure tone.

      Here's how it works:
      1. Complex sound goes into the cochlea.

      2. The sound is absorbed along the length of the cochlea. The high pitched frequencies are absorbed at the beginning of the cochlea. The low pitched frequencies are absorbed near the end.

      3. When we listen to complex sounds, it is de-composed into simple sinusoidal frequencies along the length of the cochlea in the above manner. For example, every now and then, 4kHz may be a part of the complex sound. We don't hear a constant 4kHz. We hear 4kHz only now and then, whenever it occurs as a part of a complex sound.

      4. Cochlear hairs convert vibrations into voltages to the nerves. The voltage creates a current in the afferent nerves leading to the brain (the "inferior colliculus"). The brain receives the voltage from the afferent nerve. The brain then "experiences" that a vibration is occuring at the ear.

      All nervous circuitry has the following closed loop:
      Stimulus (carried by afferent nerves) -> Decision (brain) -> Reaction (carried by efferent nerves)

      Whether the nerves are carrying information about sound, skin temperature or sight, they carry this information by sending synaptic currents. The brain recieves this voltages in mapped areas, perceiving these as sound, skin temperature or sight, etc.

      (Amazingly, researchers can elicit sensory experiences simply by applying voltages to areas of the brain!)

      5. When you have hearing loss, it's due to cochlea hair damage/loss. The damage is usually more so in one ear than the other, setting up an imbalance. Let's say you have 4kHz loss in your right ear as a result of damage/loss of cochlea hairs at the 4kHz location. Then, when you are hearing a complex sound, the healthy left ear sends 4kHz (every now and then as part of a complex sound) to the superior ollivary complex, but the right sends nothing.

      6. When the superior ollivary gets this information, "4kHz from left, zero from right", it reacts to this imbalance and sends a signal along the efferent nerve to the right to "crank it up".

      7. This "crank it up" signal happens repeatedly, and becomes an errant signal. In effect, the right ear tries to listen harder and harder in response to "crank it up" from the efferent nerve. This causes a feedback loop. The right ear is not actually hearing 4kHz. It is a signal from the efferent nerve that the ear with the associated hearing loss is perceiving as a real sound.

      It's basically a defective, unbalanced circuit that has feedback. The right ear, which can't hear 4kHz naturally, is "hearing" the efferent nerve's signal all the time!

      When you use a hearing aid, the hearing aid decomposes a complex sound into simple tones. The hearing aid is able to amplify only the tones where there is hearing loss. The superior ollivary complex will then get 4 kHz from the good ear and, more or less, sidebands near 4kHz from the bad ear with the hearing aid. The system perceives this as a naturally "balanced" system. In response, it no longer sends a signal to the efferent nerve back to the ear to "crank it up". Without a signal from the efferent nerve, tinnitus should go away.

      (now I'll put my hat away...)
       
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    20. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      Well i feel exhausted just reading it so thank you for taking the trouble to type it Karl.

      Mine doesn't feel like a pure tone.

      When it's loud it feels like a thousand different tones mixed into one gigantic chasm of buzzing.
      When it's quiet it sounds like a number of very soft bell like tones.

      And it's always in my head (moves around - sometimes at the top and sometimes at the sides and sometimes near the back of my neck), never in my ears and it changes all the time.

      Still - it may be worth a go.

      Or perhaps mine has gone because I can't hear it - yippee :ROFL:
      Who am I kidding - it will be back tonight or tomorrow I expect :cry:

      ps - I like the icons on here.
       
    21. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Superb info Karl, thanks.

      Thats yet another tinnitus theory then.

      If this theory is right then I wonder why it doesnt go away when I have earplugs in and there is silence and the nerve is not hearing anything unbalanced because there's nothing to hear at all?

      I may try to hunt Dr Baguely down and ask!!
       
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    22. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      do it Louise - find him! He's in Cambridge and I'm sure that's nearer you than me....
       
    23. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Mine is no longer pure-tone (it did strt out that way though). Its like static noise with several 'radio off frequency tuning in' little noises all moving about and there's a lot of background noise then with some pure-tone in the middle. Mine is always in my ear. Occasionally also in my head as a buzzing.

      Its the movement in the sound I hate the most I think, its very fast, very whirring, like some frantic activity is going on in there. Just dreadful :(
       
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    24. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      Cambridge? He may find me on his doorstep!

      I've thought about tracking down Chris Martin as well to see if he would tell me what he's tried that has & hasnt worked. With his money he surely must've tried everything?
       
    25. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      If you remove the bit about it being in your ear then your description is almost describing mine - can't hear the pure tone tho.

      I've tried to describe it to so many people & every time the description changes but 'electrical' is usually in the description somewhere.

      I agree about the 'frantic activity' - it's horrid.
       
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    26. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      If they're close enough to you why not pop in for a cup of tea with both of them - introduce them to each other!

      Whoops - no, not tea. Tea spikes T. Not coffee either. Perhaps a glass of water?

      Seriously though - an email wouldn't hurt.

      I emailed three J TRT trained audiologists a few weeks ago - the b****ds didn't even reply!
       
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    27. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      I seem to be obsessing away today. I probably edited my last post about 20 times. Please note all the fancy bolds and italics. I went back and forth on this one, boiling the problem down. (This needs to go into my final grade in this course. Hey, does anyone know when this course will end?)

      I've corresponded and talked quite a bit with some experts in the field of tinnitus. I view it almost as an electronics problem involving afferent and efferent circuitry. One of the scientists I know is a world renowned tinnitus expert. He also happens to be a ham radio operator. He views the auditory system as a radio.
       
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    28. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      click -
      Have you ever tried getting a neck massage?

      I was asking a doctor about people like you who seem to have tinnitus starting in their necks. He said he thinks it's a neck muscle issue. Also, fascial nerves can cause tinnitus.
       
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    29. Petloy
      Happy

      Petloy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Hi louise, what frequency/ies do you have a loss? Mine is at 6-8 khz at 30 (right ear) and 40 (left ear) this one was hardest hit by the fire alarm.
       
    30. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Excellent question. I think once this feedback loop gets going, it reinforces itself. The brain is sort of pumping it along with energy, I think. Earplugs aren't enough to stop this thing, once the deviant cycle gets going, because it feeds on itself.

      In 2010, using research funding from the Ford Foundation, researchers built what's called an MEG/MRI scanning machine. They've been able to view how areas of the brain of a tinnitus patient becomes disturbed. Using again 4kHz as an example, the 4kHz region of the brain is overly excited. I think this "keeps the ball rolling", so to speak. It's a ball that is hard to stop.

      The same researchers were able to temporarily cancel tinnitus using a special sound therapy. Using MEG/MRI after sound therapy, they saw that the previously affected brain areas had calmed down, and the tinnitus patient temporarily experienced silence. ...But then it started up again...

      See this thread: https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/meg-and-mri-scans-used-to-cancel-tinnitus.288/

      It doesn't take much to "get the ball rolling" when a system feeds on itself and becomes unstable.
       
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