Hyperacusis and Hearing Aids

Discussion in 'Support' started by BarbaraZ, Jun 25, 2019.

    1. BarbaraZ

      BarbaraZ Member

      Location:
      Seattle, WA
      Tinnitus Since:
      long time
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      age-related, virus Dec 2017
      Good morning! I would like to tap your collective wisdom today about ear pressure and hearing aids.

      I have bilateral hearing loss. I have tinnitus, not normally bothersome (though all this testing is making me aware of it).

      For about 1 1/2 years (see my introductory thread) I've had hyperacusis in my left ear, which manifests as uncomfortable pressure at low or any sound volume. I wear an earplug in that ear a lot.

      It complicates finding a hearing device quite a bit. I'd like to know if you've found good solutions for your hearing that don't aggravate your acusis, or what compromises you've had to make.

      They are trying me with a CROS device, effectively deadening my left ear and sending it to the right, but I don't like the unilateral hearing and it's still over-amplified even at low volume. I question whether I'll get enough benefit to justify the cost. Right now I'm trying a Signia device; I'm also going to try a Starkey. These feel like they're putting electrodes in my ears, the energy input is that strong and direct.

      What else should I be trying? Would I be better off amplifying just one ear? What about those OTC devices that will be coming next year? Ultimately, would a simpler, cheaper device do 90% of what I need at 30% of the cost?

      I'm looking forward to your advice.
      Barbara
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      HI @BarbaraZ

      Wearing an earplug or plugs to suppress external sound because you have hyperacusis will not cure your problem, which is over sensitivity to sound. Whilst this may yield some benefits you are creating more problems for yourself in the long term, as a lowering of the "loudness threshold" of your auditory system will result. The answer is treatment for the hyperacusis using sound therapy, that may require wearing a white noise generator in combination with a hearing aid since you have partial hearing loss.

      I believe it would be best for to be seen at ENT so tests can be carried out on your auditory system to determine how much hearing loss you have in each ear? Then, referred to a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist to be assessed for fitting of hearing aid or combination of hearing aid with white noise generator, to treat your hyperacusis. Contrary to what some people believe, hyperacusis can be completely cured when it is treated correctly and a person is under the care of the medical professionals I have mentioned. Doing anything else without treating your hyperacusis first will always present a problem of you being over sensitive to sound. This can manifest itself in various ways depending on how severe the hyperacusis is?

      Please click on my link below and read my post: Hyperacusis, As I see It. It covers the potential risks of overusing earplugs which often causes more harm than good.

      All the best
      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      BarbaraZ

      BarbaraZ Member

      Location:
      Seattle, WA
      Tinnitus Since:
      long time
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      age-related, virus Dec 2017
      That's precisely where I am in the process, @Michael Leigh -- I'm being treated adequately, and I'm trying hearing aids to find the best solution for my particular combination of problems. Thanks for your comments about your experience.

      The trial hearing aids don't feel good to me in a number of ways, not important to today's question.

      Before I spend the money, I'm asking the community here what solutions you all use when you have both hearing loss and hyperacusis? Nothing, sound therapy, earplugs, pillows over ears, soundproof rooms? Is there a list somewhere? (But preferably your reply will give me ideas about daily enhancement and protection and selecting hearing aids that account for sound sensitivity in a world that doesn't think about it very much...)

      Barbara
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Thank you for the additional information @BarbaraZ

      Although someone maybe able to offer you some advice on what to do, the best person to advise you is your Hearing Therapist or Audiologist, as tinnitus, hyperacusis and hearing loss should be their field of expertise and therefore, know how best to treat it as each person is different. You need to be careful as the ear and auditory system are delicate, so you need the right treatment so your symptoms are not aggravated.

      I live in the UK. I don't have hearing loss but was under the care of a Hearing Therapist when I first got tinnitus with severe hyperacusis 23 years ago. I had TRT ( Tinnitus retraining therapy) treatment that involved wearing White noise generators to treat the hyperacusis (desensitisation) and to treat the tinnitus (sound therapy).
      My hyperacusis was completely cured in 2 years using the white noise generators and the tinnitus reduced to a low level.

      All the best
      Michael
       
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    5. sakrt
      No Mood

      sakrt Member

      Location:
      Og.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Specific issues
      Supposedly good reviews on newer Bose ones. I'd check into those.
      Have you tried a filter type of earplug in the one ear instead of cutting off all sound - to try balance it out?
       
    6. BenzoMom

      BenzoMom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo WD
      @BarbaraZ I am dealing with severe/extreme hyperacusis plus some tinnitus due to benzodiazepine withdrawal - so hopefully, my condition is temporary. I have been given the opportunity to try some very expensive hearing aids that you described, of which the audiologist apparently can tone down the noise level that comes in, in addition to having the option of having white/pink noise if you like. I'm quite miserable at the moment, with even regular talking levels bothering me about half the time, as well as other noises being amplified about 2-3X their normal levels...it spikes and then it can be normal. I can definitely tell now that it's more in my left ear versus my right but I know it's in both. As you know and mentioned, quite expensive, with a quote of $7K about, which my insurance would likely pay only about 1/3 if they would approve. Did you end up getting these to work well for you? Did they dampen down the volume? Sounds like for you, there's hearing loss in one ear and hyperacusis in the other so a different situation there as well.
       
    7. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Hearing aids are ridiculously expensive. I am not sure if they work for H.
       
    8. lcj

      lcj Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      medication
      @BenzoMom if you are located in the US check and see if there is a Connect hearing near you. They are running a deal right now where you can get a pair of Phonak Audeo Marvel hearing aids without insurance for $1500 (both ears). These are the ones that stream Bluetooth audio, are rechargeable and top of the line - retail price around $5000. My audiologist said this is a recent promotion in an effort to rival Costco hearing aid prices. Apparently the parent manufacturing company is the same for both Costco Kirkland hearing aids and Phonaks (although I think the Phonaks have more features) but this would imply that Costco hearing aids are also quite good!

      Hope this helps
       
    9. BenzoMom

      BenzoMom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo WD
      Thanks @lcj - if I needed just regular hearing aids, I would but apparently, these hearing aids come with the audiologist's ability to adjust them to my needs frequently over a 3 year period remotely...and this is an audiologist who specially works with people with auditory processing disorder and most of those people have hyperacusis. I agree - $7K is insane but if my insurance paid 1/3 and I could live at home with my children and tolerate their loudness, then it would be worth it to me. That is....if they work. Luckily, a trial period. Do you have hyperacusis? Have you been using them or were they recommended to you? Or do you just have tinnitus?
       
    10. lcj

      lcj Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      medication
      @BenzoMom I have hyperacusis and t (without hearing loss) but my hyperacusis has gotten a lot better in the last month. I would say my hyperacusis hardly bothers me anymore and I can go to a restaurant or coffee shop and not cringe. Now if I could just get the t to let up!

      I don’t know if it was the hearing aids, time, or using the Dr. Wilden home laser... I have had the Phonaks on trial for 2 weeks and they are great. I have no idea if they can be adjusted remotely but definitely take advantage of the trial period!
       
    11. BenzoMom

      BenzoMom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo WD
      It's too bad - there's not a center anywhere near me. Phonak ones are the ones that this audiologist mentioned in her post on FB that I saw. Is that how much you spent? $1500? And I am possibly going to spend triple that with insurance paying? The concern I would have is getting someone to actually program them the way that I need....still, that's a big huge $ difference!!
       
    12. lcj

      lcj Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      medication
      Yes, $1500 is the special promotional price I was quoted today, which is a big discount from what I was quoted two weeks ago. If I were you I would trial the expensive ones and the cheaper ones (maybe Costco hearing aids since you don’t have a Connect hearing nearby?) and see how much of a difference there is before buying.
       
    13. BenzoMom

      BenzoMom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo WD
      @lcj Thank you. That's incredible. Do you have to have a good smartphone for these to work? Can you tell me in what way they have helped you? How bad was your hyperacusis before? Mine spikes to horrendous levels and then sometimes, it seems almost normal.....but I'm told that this is normal for the condition. Mine has been so severe recently that sometimes, even water running hurts and normal voices, etc. Of course, dishes clanking, etc. It seems if I am the one making the noise, it's not so terrible but if others are making it, then it can be dreadful, depends on the day. I was doing better with my kids gone but today, it's horrendous again.
       
    14. Contrast

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Retrovile
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      injury from noxious noise
      they don't, they don't even work for muffled hearing.
       
    15. BenzoMom

      BenzoMom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo WD
      I'm reading that they can help about 1/2 of people. It's not a cure; I believe it just can help to de-intensify things.....if you have a good audiologist that knows what they are doing.
       
    16. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      That's the experience I have heard about, that hearing aids do not even work for most people with hearing loss. They're just a waste of money.
       

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