Unilateral Tinnitus & Hearing Loss — Tremendous Relief from a Hearing Aid

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by SFBay, May 13, 2022.

    1. SFBay

      SFBay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi — I have been a lurker for several months and wanted to post in the hopes that my experience will help someone. However, this is not a success story about how I made my tinnitus disappear though as much as I wish I could say it has. It is one of progress and bright spots.

      I developed ringing in my left ear quite suddenly — a few days of noticing it when I yawned and then one morning it started being present all the time. A loud, high pitched, one tone, electric sounding hiss/buzz. I was beside myself. It drove me bonkers and the first month of this I was a mess.

      I soon started following recommendations from folks on this site and constantly had on background noise and re-engaged in a meditation practice. It took a lot of trial and error, but I found several noises that I found soothing and that didn’t really mask the ringing but sort of absorbed it into the background noises. I found birds chirping, crickets, cicadas and the shower sounds to be the best for me. Noises in the range of the tinnitus tone work best for me. Lower noises only seem to amplify the ringing. I bought a pillow speaker, took the cover off, plugged it into my phone and draped it around my neck. For weeks I walked around with background noise constantly going. I also did this with headphones that I draped over my shoulder. I went to the store and work like this. I did not care what others thought as it was the only thing that brought me any comfort and helped me at all.

      I eventually went to an audiologist and found that I have both unilateral tinnitus and unilateral hearing loss in my left ear. My hearing loss starts around 4000 Hz and continues up to 8000 Hz. I also have trouble hearing through loud background noises. I did not have a noise trauma that I know of. The audiologist and the ENT both recommended that I have an MRI to rule out acoustic neuroma (as so many here have had to do). I was very anxious about the MRI because of past medical trauma and claustrophobia, etc. — with the help of a supportive MD who advocated for me with my insurance, I was approved to do the MRI with sedation. Much like the process for a colonoscopy. It was a huge relief to do the MRI this way and I am very aware that insurance and cost are huge barrier that makes this experience unavailable to many. I highly recommend it if it is possible and anxiety is standing in the way of getting the MRI. I brought my own earplugs and they put others over those. I did not try to find out anything about the level of noise of the MRI machine. Best of all — no neuroma! So anyone who is worried about their one sided tinnitus and hearing loss and if it relates to a tumor — I hope you take comfort that I had all that and no neuroma!

      Finally, I have gotten tremendous relief from my tinnitus from a hearing aid. It is not set to mask the ringing but instead amplifies the noises I am not hearing well because of the hearing loss. I am only wearing one in the affected ear. It is not perfect and I do still hear the ringing if it is quiet or look for it. However, it has allowed me to move the tinnitus to the background more, to care about it less. The audiologist lent me an old hearing aid to determine if it would help me. I am now planning on purchasing a newer model, when I have saved up the needed resources. I am gladly wearing a hearing aid all the time and foresee doing that indefinitely.

      I am sad to not have a story of complete recovery from tinnitus. I wish mine would just go away. However, I am so grateful for all the posts I have read on this forum and for the care of a knowledgeable audiologist. Her generosity lending me a hearing aid and helping figure out how to program it for me has made a huge difference in my tinnitus journey.

      Thank you for this forum and the many people who share their story and support.
       
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    2. blamingeverything

      blamingeverything Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      high frequency hearing loss
      Glad to hear yet another success story. Out of interest, how significant is your hearing loss?
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SFBay

      SFBay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi — my unilateral hearing loss is considered mild. A drop of 25-40 dB between 4000 Hz and 8000 Hz in my left ear. I did not notice it at all until I had the hearing test. The distortion with background noise is also mild. That is something I notice more now that it was pointed out to me in the hearing test. I would not be offered a hearing aid except for the fact that I have tinnitus and asked if it might help me. My right ear has no hearing loss or ringing.
       
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    4. Athens

      Athens Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have minor hearing loss (moderate in one ear but only at a certain frequency), and a new ENT has recommended hearing aids. She seemed to be more focused on tinnitus than hyperacusis. My hyperacusis is more of an issue than tinnitus. I am obviously concerned about amplifying sound when I already hear sounds as too loud. She said that there would only be amplification in the frequencies where I experience hearing loss. I have also read that some hearing aids have a feature that lowers the volume when certain sounds are too loud (like a door slamming or a spoon being dropped on a plate).
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SFBay

      SFBay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi — I’m sorry I don’t know anything about hypercusis and hearing aids. I can tell you that the hearing aids are programmed to amplify noise at only the frequencies I don’t hear well and there is a volume control for the hearing aid as well. For me it has been great to give them a try. Good luck!
       
    6. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      From my vague knowledge, some hearing aids have a limiter that essentially compresses loud sounds. However, that would only work if it was an in-ear hearing aid. If outer ear hearing aid, then all sound would still be able to enter the canal.
       
    7. Athens

      Athens Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I will check it out. I think that I understand the difference.
       
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