State of the Art Hearing Aids Reduce Background Noise But Make Tinnitus Worse

Discussion in 'Support' started by Southworth, Feb 24, 2021.

    1. Southworth

      Southworth Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Profound hearing loss
      Hi - first time poster here with a long-term tinnitus history.

      I am profoundly deaf, but I am able to hear well enough to get along with the more powerful hearing aids. Hearing aids also are what have enabled me to live with tinnitus. Until now.

      I need new hearing aids and so far have tried two top-of-the-line brands. These aids are the latest and greatest with the focused directional microphones, microphone and receiver in the same element, programs for music, restaurants, outdoors, etc.

      What I am experiencing, however, is that these types of hearing aids, which seem to reduce background noise, are making my tinnitus worse instead of allowing for masking.

      Has anyone else experienced this? Any known remedies? It seems all the whistles and bells are not always beneficial.
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI Southworth.

      Although I do not have hearing loss I am a long term user of white noise generators, for my tinnitus which work in a similar way to hearing aids and dual-purpose hearing aids with white noise generator fitted. The idea of white noise from a WNG or hearing aid, is to provide sound enrichment to the ear and auditory system. At no time should the tinnitus be masked by it as this would make it in-audible to the brain. The brain cannot habituate to the tinnitus unless it can hear it. Therefore, white noise from a WNG or hearing aid, should be set slightly lower than the tinnitus. If the tinnitus is masked, covered up so it can't be heard this will often cause irritation to the auditory system and make it worse.

      If I understand your situation correctly, it seems to me your new hearing aids fitted with directional microphones and various music programs that you can select, suggest to me they are supplying your auditory system with too much sound. Remember, the tinnitus should not be masked. If it's possible try turning off the music and just use the hearing aid function. The fact that you have directional microphones fitted means, they will supply more sound to your auditory system and brain from the outside environment. The additional sound maybe enough to help the brain lower it's internal gain at the same time suppressing the tinnitus. You could also try reducing the gain on the microphones, so they are not as sensitive and probably supplying your ears with too much sound- then you could try introducing the on-board music, first at a low level.

      Best of luck.
      Michael
       
    3. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      @Southworth, welcome to Tinnitus Talk.

      My new hearing aids work really well, in fact they are really clever devices.

      They replace your lost frequencies helping you to hear and adjust by themselves to the surroundings you are in but can alter them manually if needed.

      They have 3 settings on them. One for sound amplification and one cuts out a lot of background sound.

      Two devices need to be used but added a setting to allow one hearing aid to work if needed.

      Audiology added a masking setting with amplification.

      My tinnitus is like full blast white noise in both ears like having your head in a gas oven on high so Audiology put a sea sound masker on with waves lapping at the shore.

      I have normal wires go into my ears and not moulded ear pieces.

      Are yours moulded?

      Love,
      Glynis
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Southworth

      Southworth Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Profound hearing loss
      Thanks, Michael and Glynis. I will work with my audiologist with your suggestions.

      I have 4 programs on the current new hearing aids - all-around, restaurant, music and outdoor. The audiologist removed the music and outdoor already, and I use the all-around program mainly. But the tinnitus is overpowering anything I hear. I can no longer hear the same comfortable way I used to with my old aids. Like breaking in new shoes, I guess.

      Thank you! Another trip to the audiologist!
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Southworth,

      Thanks for supplying the additional information as it helps. I am fairly certain your auditory system and brain are being supplied with too much sound from your hearing aids. If I were you, I wouldn't try to get used to it if your Audiologist suggests that you try. The volume of sound needs to be reduced, then I think you'll be fine.

      Take care and all the best.
      Michael
       
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