Is It Worth It Going to an ENT for Additional Tests?

Discussion in 'Support' started by test45, Sep 23, 2014.

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    1. test45

      test45 Member

      I have a constant ringing in both my ears that I've been aware of for the last few years (I’m 28 at the moment). I've attempted to stop things like listening to music through headphones for a several months. Whilst this has lessened the strength of the ringing I seem to have a baseline noise which I cannot remove.

      In day to day life this isn't too bad. My feeling is that I hear normally aside from the ringing (so any difficulties in hearing are due to speech being below the background ringing). I think this also impacts the clarity of speech as well so often I can hear the gist of what someone is saying if they're speaking quietly but not the exact words.

      I'm a bit unsure as to what to do next. I have been to a GP. He confirmed that I do not have an excess build-up of wax and that my eardrum looks okay. He did suggest a possible referral to an ENT but didn't book an appointment at the time.

      Is it worth going to an ENT for additional tests? At times I feel that I hear okay. So long as anyone speaking is loud enough I can pick it up. I can mitigate some of the issues by trying to direct myself at the person speaking and try to watch their lips to help pick up the words. Unfortunately I do feel that at times my hearing is bad enough to impact on my communication. In some normal everyday situations - a casual conversation, hearing someone across an office - I often have to give up trying to hear what people are saying if they're speaking quietly. That others around me seem to have no difficulty in hearing these sounds (often when not looking at the person speaking and whilst doing other things) suggests that my hearing isn't as good as I feel at times.

      My understanding is that there’s not too much that can be done about the ringing. The only option would be a hearing aid. I think I would be willing to try this (though there are obvious costs considerations). I’m not sure how applicable they would be given that I do feel that in many situations my hearing is fairly okay – if I were to wear hearing aids to help in quiet situations would they not boost sound too much in louder (requiring me to constantly adjust them or causing damage to my hearing further and requiring future reliance on such devices).

      My question is whether it is worth requesting an appointment with an ENT even if at times I seem to manage okay with my hearing? I do feel like it would be useful to get a formal test on how good / bad my hearing is (if that’s something they offer?) as even if I’m not suitable for a hearing aid at the moment I may be in the future as my hearing deteriorates normally with age?
       
    2. UserID
      Lucky

      UserID Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tampa, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/01/1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Artillery
      Some people have opted for the use of hearing aids in order to be able to pick up more ambient sounds to help with the mitigation of the ringing they hear. For some, it has been helpful, since it amplifies what is going on around them, adding more exterior sound. I am hearing impairment or disabled and have been wearing hearing aids for at least ten years. They help to add ambient sound; but then, without them, I don't hear very well anyway, so I really need them just to get through my day.

      I'd say, if you're looking for some form of distraction from what it is you hear in your head/ears, then do a little searching through various recordings offered online. I find these are the best ways for me to provide myself a diversion from the constant ringing I may tend to tune into at times.

      Because I have habituated a great deal since the onset of T in 1972, I've been around the block a few times, know and understand a good many of the alternative routes offered to T sufferers, and have even tried several, all at a pretty high financial cost.

      For me, I find sound therapy, the use of recordings like crickets, showers, nature, various water sources, and even some classical music, to aid me in getting through the rough times, when the T wants to show itself more prominently, perhaps because I ate something or took an ototoxic med. But, for whatever reason it spikes, my reaction is always to reach for my MP3 player where I have uploaded various free sounds from sources online. Even now, as I write this, I'm listening to the shower track on this website. It's one of my favorites for which I must, at last, give thanks to the admins for providing it for us.....David
       
    3. test45

      test45 Member

      Thanks for the reply.

      Perhaps it's not as bad as others, and perhaps it's something I've always had so am just used to it, but I don't find the noise too intrusive. The ringing is never really silent and it's very noticeable if I focus on it but I can hear general background noise most of the time. If the background noise is loud enough (say in a crowd of people or by a busy road) the ringing is reduced as the ambient sound cancels it out.

      My main concern is with communication. Whilst I have struggled socially for all of my life (and hearing is just a small component in the communication process) I feel the inability to hear clearly is impacting my ability to communicate. If a person speaks loudly enough I can interact okay. I seem to be finding more and more situations where someone will say something and I can't catch what they've said (and I know they're speaking at an acceptable level as others around me have heard okay).

      I'm just unsure whether things are bad enough to warrant a formal test with an ENT. I'm not sure how in-depth these will be though (just playing sounds and asking if I can hear them okay?) and since it doesn't look as though there is currently any medication or surgery to treat tinnitus I thought the only response would be hearing aid if it's bad enough?

      I'm not sure whether they're applicable for tinnitus treatment but I would have opted for the totally in the canal (as in the most hidden version) but, given the costs, wasn't sure whether they would be worth it given that they may not be of use much of the time. If a hearing aid boosts all sound and I only need a boost on those instances when people are speaking quietly enough for my ringing to tune out what they're saying will I need to constantly adjust the hearing aid (and will it damage my hearing to have every boosted in such a way throughout the day). I'm also not sure how comfortable they'll (I'm not sure it's sensible to have such an outlay if I find them too uncorfotable to use on a day to day basis - in particular the in ear hearing aids)?
       

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