Hearing Aids and Tinnitus – My Story

Updated November 1, 2016 – Almost ten million Americans today are currently using hearing aids. This
number is just a mere fraction of those who have actually been
diagnosed with some form of hearing impairment.

I was one of those who has a hearing loss, but postponed getting
hearing aids because of vanity. Eventually I spent $6000 on Vivatone
brand digital hearing aids a couple of years ago and they are
gathering dust on the bathroom counter.

(Anyone need some 10 size batteries?)

If you have a hearing loss and are still denying you need hearing
aids, before you shout “aha!” and email this to your spouse or
significant other, my hearing loose is due to tinnitus.

Not to put to fine a point on it, tinnitus is the perception of sound
in the ears of head when no external source is present.

Tinnitus has
many forms,
ringing,
hissing, static,
crickets, screeching,
whooshing, roaring,
pulsing, ocean waves, buzzing,
dial tones, even music.

Mine
is variable.

A
friend has his traced to 12,450 megahertz.
(I’m assuming the audio
file plays OK, but I can’t hear it.)

As with most tinnitus sufferers, my tinnitus was caused by a lot of
exposure to noise. In my case it was go-karts, motorcycles, and hot
rods – all without mufflers- when I was a teenager.

But the hearing loss is just as complete and devastating.

Like most others, I put up with it. When
one is younger, wearing hearing aids just isn’t cool.

Even when I approached 60, I didn’t want to be the old man with the
hearing aids. I wore glasses all my life without a hitch. But only old
people wearing hearing aids, right?

While in the case of eyesight impairment, wearing glasses
or contacts seems the most normal thing of all and nobody feels
shameful, when it comes to hearing aids, people get shy and reluctant
in wearing them, because they’d be perceived as being
handicapped.

Hopefully my experience is different from yours. I wish I could hear
better by using hearing aids. But it is not so.

Researching online, I found a ton of homeopathic remedies and cures
for tinnitus. But my audiologist said there was no scientific evidence
to support any claim they work.

He recommended I try digital hearing aids in hope that by amplifying
the natural sound, it would suppress my recognition of the perceived
sound.

About the same time, a friend the same age as I, who had a hearing
loss was raving about his new Vivatone digital hearing aids and the
improvement it made in his life and wife.

They were small, behind-the-ear, flesh colored with an almost
imperceptible wire to the ear. They
were Vivatone brand digital hearing aids.

But they were expensive. $6,000 at that time. Much less now, I’m told.
I was in a position to afford them, so I made the leap.

There was no “getting used” to them. I found them comfortable and easy
to maintain. The only real maintenance, outside of changing the
batteries weekly, was to change ear wax catchers, and this was made
simple due to the design of tool used to install them.

The advantage to the Vivatone digital hearing aids is there is nothing
in your ear canal but a small tube that fits in the ear canal. No need
for a special mold. The dealer fit me immediately in his office.

I liked the way I looked. I wear my hair longish and wear glasses, so
my hair covered some of the hearing aid, and my glasses frames covered
some. The wire leading to my ear canal fell within the natural folds
of my ear.

Not invisible, but darn close.

It was also a time that I started to take control of my hearing loss
by announcing to my co-workers that I had a hearing loss, but was
wearing hearing aids. This was a big step and I got a lot of positive
feedback on how nobody could tell I had hearing aids.

Then slowly, over a matter of months, I came to the realization that
I had wasted my money. The hearing aids were not doing what my
audiologist and I had hoped. Sounds were not clearer. My tinnitus was
not masked.

I still was frustrated in restaurants as the clatter of dishes and the
underlying murmur of conversations at other tables made it almost
impossible to carry on a conversation at my table.

I found myself wearing expensive digital hearing aids, but still
lip-reading, laughing at jokes that I didn’t understand because I
didn’t hear clearly, and saying “pardon me” in a dozen different ways.

Huh? Whut? I’m sorry. Could you repeat that? Again, please?
were back in my conversations with too much regularity. The hearing
aids were worthless.

I truly wish it were different. With the technology they way it is
today, hearing aids are giving relief to millions.

I just wish I was one.

Comments 45

  1. Grandad December 19, 2009
  2. Brian Lightowler January 8, 2010
  3. Henry Busienei January 12, 2010
  4. Bruce May 19, 2010
  5. Dan May 26, 2010
    • Dan December 26, 2011
    • allie February 25, 2012
  6. Rhonda Bouvier May 29, 2010
  7. Bob May 31, 2010
  8. Peter August 6, 2010
  9. ed edmondson August 13, 2010
  10. Eugene Galan September 8, 2010
  11. ed December 2, 2010
    • Ramona October 21, 2015
  12. Barney Dunlap December 20, 2010
  13. Steven December 30, 2010
  14. Helen March 4, 2011
  15. Rick March 21, 2011
  16. Gail March 23, 2011
  17. M Carmel May 5, 2011
  18. B Nesmith May 20, 2011
    • Hearing Aid Expert June 29, 2011
  19. Spiro Chelemedos September 19, 2011
  20. Harold September 28, 2011
    • Hearing Aid Expert September 28, 2011
    • Bob Gilstein September 1, 2012
      • Hearing Aid Expert September 20, 2012
  21. Tony D November 3, 2011
  22. Joyce Keay November 11, 2011
  23. Robert November 28, 2011
    • Hearing Aid Expert December 1, 2011
    • Huh?What? December 2, 2011
  24. JudyH January 12, 2012
  25. Bodenstaff Thea January 23, 2012
    • Hearing Aid Expert January 25, 2012
      • Bill January 27, 2012
  26. Yvonne bivens January 27, 2012
  27. Winnie February 16, 2012
  28. Sue Kaplan April 21, 2012
  29. Robert Wallace September 9, 2012
    • Hearing Aid Expert September 20, 2012
  30. Claudia December 17, 2013
  31. Ren November 18, 2014
  32. Sue May 19, 2015
  33. Jodi January 8, 2016

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