Question on using hearing aid's

I have been using my hearing aid with built in masker for about 6 months now and was wondering if anyone thinks its made their tinnitus worse? Before i started using it, my T was beginning to settle down and was having more frequent quietish periods but since using it, it seems to have got worse. I only have mild hearing loss and until i got tinnitus, i hadn't noticed this and probably could get by without it. Whilst wearing the hearing aide and using it as a masker, its masking my T up to a point but I am beginning to think that all the time Im using it, my brain is not learning to ignore the sound of my tinnitus which is why it seems louder when i take it out. Whereas if I didn't wear it, would my brain eventually filter it out??

Would like to know other peoples thoughts on the matter please.

Lesley x

16 Replies

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  • Hi Lesley, funny you should mention this. I have 2 maskers which I've avoided using lately unless I get a spike. I felt I was becoming over reliant on using them previously and it wasn't allowing me to properly habituate (I've only had T 4 months). I may have got this all wrong but like you, questioned whether it was actually helping or just masking the problem (no pun intended) and not allowing me to move on...cheers, Steve

  • I have duel purpose hearing aids but don't like the masker setting as you can not control the volume that needs to be set at mixing point or below your tinnitus.

    Will be seeing audiology and Menieres consultant when appointments come through

    Hope get better ones than off my Specsavers ones

    ..lots of love glynis

  • Hi glynis, i can adjust the volumn on my hearing aid when using it as a masker (its a oticon one which i got from nhs) but i find that when Im in a noisy environment like at work, i cannot hear the masking sound so turn up the volumn to max but still can hear my tinnitus even then. I also use it at night sometimes, but put the volumn really low as that seems to help with sleeping. So although i think its helping to a degree, I dont want to become so reliant on using it and I'm still pondering over long term benefits as my T has definitely got more noticable since i started using the hearing aide and I think i will try without it as much as possible for a few weeks and see if this makes a difference.

    Lesley x

  • I thought the whole purpose of the masking in the hearing aids was so that when one wasn't wearing them the tinnitus was softer. When I wear my dual purpose hearing aids (again with minimal hearing loss) I psychologically relax because I think the noises I hear are coming from the aids - that is what I was told would be happening by the Tinnitus Clinic. The less one focusses, the less distress.

  • I can see your point and value the role maskers play in helping with over coming the distress T causes us but as i was beginning to get used to my T before i started using the hearing aide, I am not sure if this is right for me at this point in time.

    Lesley x

  • Hi Lesley, it seems to me that T is so peculiar to each one of us that "one size doesn't fit all". I have hearing aid for high frequency loss on rt ear and a white noise generator on left ear. This appears to be helping me to habituate. But, I went to hairdressers yesterday and, being a little vain, I always remove my aids before I enter the shop! As I couldn't hear the T when I left, I went about for the rest of the day minus the aids and it was quiet all day! I returned to routine this morning and have worn them all day - again it's been quiet. I think that by leaving yours off for a while you can't do any harm anyway, and hopefully you will tame your T and show it who's boss! Hope it works, love, Angela xx

  • Thanks Angela, I find them useful at times when its really spiking but think i shouldn't wear them when im having good days. Its been behaving itself today and I haven't worn the hearing aid. Might just be coincidence but we'll see how it goes. I think if i can just get used to the noise without using my hearing aid then maybe my brain will learn to stop me listening to it all the time. Don't think the cold weather helps either. Love lesley x

  • I have been using a hearing aid with masker that has 4 programmes. I have used these for approx 4 years. I have even been to The Tinnitus Clinic Harley St London. Had T since January 2000. It has increased over the years, to now being severe and agree that hearing aids with maskers have not helped.! The only reason I continue to use it is my T is louder without it. It draws out ( reduces ) my tinnitus. Has anyone experienced this ?

    Peter C

  • Hi Lesley. Tinnitus is so strange . After three years trying to get quality NHS Support I finally got to see a good audiologist ( I pushed ny gp to refer to her as I had met her at a support group meeting ) I have minimal hearing loss . I too have found that my tinnitus has got much worse and one of the factors is the white noise generator . My tinnitus now sounds like the noise on the wing which now can not be masked with anything at any volume such is its pitch. However , not wanting to be negative I know it's very personal , people swear by them. My audiologist did say that sometimes if other things are making tinnitus bad , the wng can infact make it harder as if our brains have enough to cope with without another , machine made noise. Mine have hearing aid , hearing aid and wng and wng on its own. Trying to adjust to the right setting also focuses me on my tinnitus and then I get frustrated . BUT I guess it's finding what works for you, I would add though to go carefully and gently x

  • I hearing aids with maskers, which I actually found did help with habituation after about a year of near constant use. In May last year I finally accepted my tinnitus after 23 years of insanity, since then I have very rarely used it, it just provesto me that state of mind is an important thing in coping with tinnitus.

  • Hi Mark, 23 years is a long time to have tinnitus but I am glad you have finally found some peace so theres hope for me yet. How did you learn to accept your T though? Did you have TRT or some other form of counseling. Would be interested to hear your story. Lesley

  • Lesley-I had three sessions of CBT over the years which helped short term, things got so bad six years ago, I got so low, I Ended up on Prozac for two and a half years which was like living as an emotional zombie. I weaned myself off them and I went down the maskerr route with private hearing aids from the tinnitus clinic which really helped as they worked well basically stopping me hearing the tinnitus. The other thing was finding a local job with a very laid back company, so sincework was the main stress in my life, that has now largely gone. Last year I had a really amazing holiday, and things just seemed different after that, I can't really put my finger on what triggered the acceptance but one key thing was removing the main source of stress by changing jobs.

    Mark

  • Hi Mark, i have had cbt but didn't find it very helpful. Maybe because the sessions were only for 1/2 hour over 6 weeks. Which to me seemed a short time to try and get your head around the therapy. I work in theatres (operating department) in my local hospital, as a scrub nurse, the hours are long and there is a lot of stress involved in getting lists conpleted on time, so as everyone gets there operations. As well as all the other factors involved in nursing. I can honestly say that I don't enjoy the job as much as i used to as the work/life balance has changed dramatically in recent years. But I have no idea as to what I would want to do otherwise. Whether this all has an impact on my tinnitus, i don't know. Ive only had it for 16 months so still quite a newbie. I haven't let it stop me from doing the things i enjoy doing, and i realise that it isnt going to harm me but to have some relief would be great. I do have days when its not so noticeable but since ive been using the hearing aid with built in wnm i seem to have very few quieter days now. So thats why ive become a bit skeptical about whether it is actual doing me any good. Oh well i guess its different for everyone and we all have to find what suits you best.

    It seems that changing jobs was your turning point though. So maybe thats what i may have to consider in the future.

    Lesley x

  • Lesley-I found the same with CBT, Also because hearing loss was the probable cause of my tinnitus, they would give you hearing aids, also sessions with the hearing therapists, which were more helpful than CBT as at least you are speaking with someone who at least knows about tinnitus. The other key to me staying sane was that I Am a mad birdwatcher, as an adsorbing hobby, does at least give you another focus outside of work, also regular holidays. This may sound daft but a positive outlook on life is key, as tinnitus has taken me to some very dark places, but some very good support groups on Facebook bought me round back to the light, I did find that stress is a major factor in making my tinnitus worse yet it did also act as a warning when things were getting stressful. I am an asbestos analyst by trade which can be very stressful but the other key was knowing when you are stressed and how to manage and try to reduce the stress, my change of job was mainly luck as I had just left one job and another one wasn't working out, and I found my current job on the internet and changed jobs after five weeks. I also have thought about looking for a career change, but it would be very stressful so I have never acted on it.

    Mark.

  • I've had one NHS Siemens Teneo masker for my hyperacusis ear for almost two months and I couldn't do without it. After experimenting with different kinds of noise on my iPad app I asked the hearing therapist for pink noise, which I find softer than white noise. I am also using a noise generator at night set to ocean. So, I am rarely without some kind of background noise. My tinnitus is still bad but I feel more peaceful and I don't notice it as much when I am wearing my masker, which I do for most of the day. I have mild hearing loss and so the hearing aid is set up to mask only.

  • I think i might ask my tinnitus nurse to set my hearing aid to hearing aid only and hearing aid with maskers when i next see her. But i haven't worn it for a few days and although i am aware of my T, its mainly been tolerable for most of the time. I think as we are thinking of buying the house we rent, is causing unconcious stress and maybe thats why i feel a bit unsettled as its quite a daunting thing to be contemplating at the age of 51! Maybe once weve made a decision either way I can relax and T will be less noticeable.

    Lesley x

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