I attended my annual Hearing Test with my audiologist and I was amazed at the lack of consideration for me as one living with severe Tinnitus.
My Tinnitus started in 1989 very suddenly following a very bad cold and overcoming a stressful time visiting an Architectural Colleague of mine in my local Hospital. He had fallen under a train and took months to recover.
I rather suspect the combination of the two events may have been contributory to my developing Tinnitus which began as an attack of Ménière's disease affecting my balance. Luckily for me, the dizziness faded away but I was left with the continuous ringing and buzzing in both ears.
However, in recent months, it is quite pronounced with additional sounds such as an engine noise or a humming sound. A very interesting mix, different in each ear ! Enough to send me bats !
My audiologist is someone I have known since 2009 and a very compassionate professional. Luckily, he has my audiogram readings from these last few years and has been able to provide me with a very good hearing aid.
In this recent hearing test certain things came to my mind which has made me wonder - how do other people living with Tinnitus cope with hearing tests?
What I was acutely aware of was the following things :-
1.I have an abject fear of hearing tests anyway (Psychological fear) and therefore tension/stress becomes into play.
2. The Setting : I was positioned with my back to his audiology testing device. This made the above starting point more apparent !
3. He said that he was going to test each ear randomly….Woah ! Now I am beginning to panic... How do I differentiate my Tinnitus sounds against his frequency sounds ? This has really made me feel so uneasy now !
4. Result ? A completely zero rated hearing test with a very exasperated client !
So what would have helped?
I am thankful that, with my hearing aid, I can hear reasonably well so long as those I am speaking with, are aware of my condition, they speak clearly and face me when including me during meetings or conversations.
I think that improved methods need to be created and established to get the best from hearing test results for those living with Tinnitus.
I will be very interested to discuss this with other people who are living with Tinnitus on their experiences of their hearing tests; both with NHS Audiology or private dispensers.
I think this warrants a survey in the near future- possibly in partnership with the British Tinnitus Association . I think we need to understand just how widespread this issue is. Do get in touch and share with me your hearing test experiences. as I am considering research into this condition.