Pros and Cons on Widex Zen?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Isabella 123, Mar 25, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      My audiologist believes that my T is caused by high frequency hearing loss and I do agree that everything points to that conclusion. She recommends the Widex Zen HAs set for tinnitus mgmt only (not as a hearing aid since I hear fine). She talked a lot about the advantage of random sounds (fractals) versus steady masking sounds in helping the brain not latch onto the masking sound as just additional tinnitus. That does make some sense to me....

      Any Widex Zen success stories or not so-successful stories? I know I get a trial period but I also value comments from my T-family here!
       
    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      As I see it, whether or not it makes sense depends on what you are trying to accomplish. "Tinnitus mgmt" is a very broad term.

      Stephen Nagler
       
    3. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I think her terminology refers to the fact that the Widex Zen can be programmed to play the fractal tones only, if being used by someone who does not also need them as hearing aids. So it can be programmed as a hearing aid AND a tone generator, or it can be programmed to be EITHER.
       
    4. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      I get that, @Isabella 123. Sorry for not being more clear. What I am asking is what you are trying to accomplish - not what she is trying to accomplish.

      Stephen
       
    5. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I am trying to not go insane during the period of time that it takes me to habituate to this shriek in my head. She explained to me that the tones are not set loud enough to mask the T because the brain needs to continue to hear it in order to habituate to it.
       
    6. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      I know what you mean (trying not to go insane); that's what I was trying to avoid my first few months (it was horrible). At first I masked the living snot out of my T (just to get some relief as well as sleep); then I backed off and set the noise generators to modulate in and out (to allow my brain to momentarily hear and habituate to the T). However, it was nice knowing that relief from the T was never too far away (sure kept my anxiety down).

      I'm curious to hear about how the fractal tones work; I hope they do well for you :)

      Mark
       
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    7. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I do a lot of masking too, with my iPhone and earbuds. But I'm getting to where the masking sounds like just another form of tinnitus! Just more noise to cover up the other noise.

      I'm not entirely clear on the fractal concept but she says it's soft, not to mask, but it's random tones so the brain doesn't get accustomed to it, it never "knows" what tone will be next so it has to "think" about it and gets busy doing that rather than listening to the T. That makes sense to me. She says in the meantime the brain is still hearing the T so it habituates to it. Could this be true? I tend to believe things that make sense to me. :)
       
    8. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Your audiologist knows best, of course, because she has spent time with you and has thoroughly evaluated you. I see it differently, but I guess you ought to follow her suggestion since I do not know you at all save for what I have read in a handful of posts of yours.

      Your audiologist has experience in successfully treating patients with severe intrusive tinnitus, yes?

      Stephen

      PS - By the way ... if you do decide on Widex Zen, you'll want Widex Zen2Go and not Widex Zen HAs. Why pay for amplification technology you won't be using??!!
       
    9. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      @Mark how do you set the tones to modulate in and out? It sounds like the same concept.
       
    10. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      What's ZenYoGo vs HAs? I think she is assuming that since I am 72 y.o. And starting to lose some hearing (though not enough yet to need amplification) that sooner or later I will need the HA function?
       
    11. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      BTW the audiologist has tinnitus. Makes an empathetic practitioner, right?
       
    12. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Sure. If she knows what she is doing.

      That's why I asked you about whether or not she has experience successfully treating patients with severe intrusive tinnitus. If she does, you're all set. If she doesn't, then perhaps you might consider getting a second opinion from an audiologist in your geographical vicinity who does!

      Time for me to back out of this thread.

      All the best -

      Stephen
       
    13. Catarina
      Old hag

      Catarina Member

      Location:
      Lund, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2006
      Since we are all different, and experience our tinnitus differently, I think you just need to try and see how it works. I have had a Widex Zen for a couple of weeks now, as a hearing/masking aid. I wouldn't normally need a hearing aid, but because of the tinnitus my audiologist thinks amplifying the surround sounds will help. For me the Zen doesn't work well, the tones are too subtle and after a while my brain turns down that sound and turns up the tinnitus sound so it actually makes my tinnitus worse. The tones are quite soothing and pleasant though, and it might very well work for you.
       
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    14. rickycyh

      rickycyh Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
    15. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      @rickycyh, you referred to a long thread. I confess that I did not take the time to read through it. I would only say that most authorities define tinnitus masking as the suppression or reduction of tinnitus by an external sound - so from that standpoint the only thing hearing aids will do (besides, of course, amplify hearing for the hearing-impaired) is help mask tinnitus. (The exception is when they are used as part of a TRT protocol for Category 2 patients, but the function of hearing aids in that case has nothing to do with suppression or reduction of tinnitus.)

      The proof? Put a person with tinnitus in a soundproof room, and put a pair of hearing aids on that person. The tinnitus will not be suppressed or reduced in the least. And that is true whether or not he or she has any hearing loss!

      Kind regards -

      Stephen Nagler
       
    16. Relic Hunter
      Cynical

      Relic Hunter Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1990
      I tried the Widex Zen and ended up returning them.. The hearing aid part worked fine but the Zen sound drove me crazy. I could not stand the sound of the wind chime which did not seem to mask the tinnitus but was just an additional noise.

      I remember my Mom had a wind chime on her front porch and it was annoying to me even as a kid.

      I now have a much better pair of aids made by Re Sound. They function the same as the Widex but have a white noise tinnitus masker.

      My only advise for testing hearing aids is get at least a trial period of 60 days and a no fee return privilege..30 days in my opinion is not enough time to adjust and know if you are comfortable with any aid. In addition some companies charge up to 20 percent to the original cost if you return the aids.

      I rarely wear the aids tho. I can find just as much relief in wearing just the maskers. The aids give a much to loud unrealistic sound. My hearing loss is in the high frez. range and I have no loss in the low and speech range. I found that restoring my hearing to normal via use of the aids had no effect on the tinnitus, I just could hear better that was all.
       
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    17. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      Issabella
      Yeah, I have four settings; one is to modulate the white noise (fade in / fade out). To me it sounds like ocean waves (very soothing, indeed).

      I like what you said about fractal tones (the brain never knows what it will hear next -- good way to keep it focused away from T).

      Keep me posted on how it works. Sounds neat.

      Mark
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    18. Isabella 123
      Curious

      Isabella 123 Member

      Location:
      Arlington VA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Mark, I decided to give it a try with DIY. I use an app on my iPhone called tmsoft and I downloaded bamboo chimes and wind chimes and mixed them with brown noise and I'm using that with my earbuds to confuse my brain . It's soothing, I have it on low volume. I can't tell for sure but I think it's quieting my T a little !
       
    19. rickycyh

      rickycyh Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      @Dr. Nagler , i guess it works because of what you said "amplify hearing for the hearing-impaired", it may amplify some frequency of sound that we can't hear because of hearing loss, and this make some compensation for the brain to stop emitting the T sound in a while..(just a wild guess, i'm not a professional on the theory behind tinnitus)

      I got some hear loss on 8khz, (35DB, normal person should be within 10-20), i tried to play some pure tone at 8khz frequency with interval 10 seconds, it produces some effect called residual inhibition, just hear some small hiss sound. for me, it better than masking with white nose..

      yes, maybe there will be no effect on soundproof room, but we always live in a place with sound around, if the hearing aids can help reducing tinnitus sound, why don't we give it a whirl. (although the hearing aids is very expensive.)

      (sorry for my grammer, english is not my month tougue)

      just my two cents.
      Ricky
       
    20. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Right. And the result is suppression of tinnitus because the amplified external sound serves to mask it.

      Stephen Nagler
       
    21. teacherman
      Buzzed

      teacherman Member

      Location:
      The Land of Enchantment, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/27/2013
      Isabella123--thanks for the tmsoft suggestion. I downloaded it onto my iphone last night. Very cool and extremely helpful.
      Mike
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    22. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      Isabella
      That's great! I really hope it works; thanx for keeping me posted.

      Mark
       
    23. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      @Dr. Nagler

      Yes, I recognize what you are saying, and this is the accepted position in the medical community. That said, in 2012 PLOS ONE published an intriguing article about long-term tinnitus suppression in clients who used Widex's linear octave frequency transposition (LOFT) setting. I have minor hearing loss in the high frequencies and gave the article to my audiologist. She read it and turned on the LOFT setting, but alas it did nothing for me. Still, I wonder if she had set something differently, would I have achieved similar results? Below is the abstract. And I believe the suppression listed below is unique:

      http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0051915

      Peltier E, Peltier C, Tahar S, Alliot-Lugaz E, Cazals Y Published: December 20, 2012
      DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051915

      Abstract

      Over the last three years of hearing aid dispensing, it was observed that among 74 subjects fitted with a linear octave frequency transposition (LOFT) hearing aid, 60 reported partial or complete tinnitus suppression during day and night, an effect still lasting after several months or years of daily use. We report in more details on 38 subjects from whom we obtained quantified measures of tinnitus suppression through visual analog scaling and several additional psychoacoustic and audiometric measures. The long-term suppression seems independent of subject age, and of duration and subjective localization of tinnitus. A small but significant correlation was found with audiogram losses but not with high frequency loss slope. Long-term tinnitus suppression was observed for different etiologies, but with a low success rate for sudden deafness. It should be noted that a majority of subjects (23) had a history of noise exposure. Tinnitus suppression started after a few days of LOFT hearing aid use and reached a maximum after a few weeks of daily use. For nine subjects different amounts of frequency shifting were tried and found more or less successful for long-term tinnitus suppression, no correlation was found with tinnitus pitch. When the use of the LOFT hearing aid was stopped tinnitus reappeared within a day, and after re-using the LOFT aid it disappeared again within a day. For about one third of the 38 subjects a classical amplification or a non linear frequency compression aid was also tried, and no such tinnitus suppression was observed. Besides improvements in audiometric sensitivity to high frequencies and in speech discrimination scores, LOFT can be considered as a remarkable opportunity to suppress tinnitus over a long time scale. From a pathophysiological viewpoint these observations seem to fit with a possible re-attribution of activity to previously deprived cerebral areas corresponding to high frequency coding.
       
    24. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      @jazz, whenever I look at data like that, I think to myself: "How easy would it have been for the investigators to do a legitimate prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study?" In this case, it would have been a piece of cake. Divide the group in two. Give half of them LOFT hearing aids, and give half of them hearing aids of similar quality but without LOFT technology. In my opinion the fact that they didn't take such an obvious step needs to be taken into consideration when one assesses the validity of the findings.

      Stephen Nagler
       
    25. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      Yes, that's an excellent point. Still, it makes sense that if hearing aids could be designed to better replicate hearing in lost frequencies you would have full or nearly full suppression.

      But I do know some technical problems exist with replicating higher frequencies in hearing aid technologies.
       
    26. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      It may be semantics, @jazz, but the sort of suppression you are talking about is likely the result of masking. And nobody argues with the idea that under the right conditions hearing aids can effectively mask tinnitus.

      Regardless, there is much work to be done in the field. Which, incidentally, is another problem I have with the paper you cited. Nowhere in the paper is it written that the results should be considered preliminary and that further studies are needed.

      Stephen Nagler
       
    27. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      I've read about implantable hearing aids as a solution to better replicate hearing loss in the high frequencies. But one I've recently read about one, Soundbridge, which is NOT for tinnitus, has horrible side effects--including tinnitus!

      And I agree with you that the study cited above did leave much to be desired!
       
    28. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      My take on the Widex Zen Hearing Aids, is that it's not supposed to mask the tinnitus at all. The fractal tones are there to redirect your brain to another sound while it still can still hear the ringing. This will retrain your brain to stop focusing on the tinnitus and focus on other sounds. It also helps because it should be more soothing and comforting, not like white noise. This concept is similar to the Neuromonics, which uses music. Masking is good for the short term (instant gratification), but retraining takes a little more time (couple months) and will have lasting effects. Now I'm not an expert, but if you read the literature on both concepts, retraining your brain is the best way to go for the long term. The good thing about the Widex Zen, is you can add masking sounds, with the Zen programs if you want.
      Regarding the Widex Zen, my audiologist said its a process that's not going to happen overnight, so you need to give it some time. The result your looking for is complete habituation of the tinnitus, which may take a month or longer.

      To expect it to happen in a few weeks is probably unrealistic. Both the Widex Zen and the Neuromonics make sense to me. Both theories make sense. Either one should work with time, but I also feel counseling along with the Zen or Neuromonics will speed up the process. All the tools together will speed up the process.

      Mark K.
       
    29. Dennis MacDonald
      Confused

      Dennis MacDonald Member

      Location:
      Bradenton, Fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      20 years
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I am in the middle of testing Widex Zen model Dream 220 FS-Rite since December 19, 2014. I did get them to go 60 days on the warranty. My hearing is quite normal in the low frequency range as well as the clarity of words. I have 25-30% loss in in the high frequency range. I have already had two adjustments. One was to get rid of the white noise that played at the same time as the zen chimes. It was nothing more than a hissing sound that started to really bother me. They could have adjusted it to a lower volume but I decided to get rid of it for now. The chimes work for me best at quiet times like when watching TV or working on the computer or in general around the house. You can go to the Widex website and hear EXACTLY how the Zen chimes sound. When I leave home, because of the natural sounds in my environment, I can't hear the chimes at all. When out I will go back and forth between the Comfort setting (less amplification from the rear) and the Master setting. I have noticed some masking of the tinnitus going on when in Master and Zen mode. The external sounds almost seem to be too loud and I need to decide to whether to have the the overall volume reduced. Jury is still out on all of this for me. For certain the tinnitus is still raging all the while I wear the hearing aids. The distractions from the chimes as well as the general loudness of the hearing aid seem to be having an effect. For certain the aids provide a needed distraction (albeit small) from the tinnitus. I am only 3 weeks into wearing them and hope they will will help me to habituate to tinnitus.

      In my research and talking to others it seems that the more sever the hearing loss the better Zen and hearing aids work.

      I shall watch this thread with extreme interest.

      Dennis M
       
    30. Sailboardman
      Frustrated

      Sailboardman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/21/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sensorineural hearing loss right ear.
      Has anyone out there used Widex Zen Theraphy?

      If so what is your impression of this product and therapy?
       

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