Hearing Loss And Loud Sounds Are A Bad Combination

“Welcome to Old Lahaina Luau. Have you visited with us before?” the hostess asked as she led us to our table. “Yes, a few years ago,” my husband replied. “Well, you will notice a big difference. “We just installed a new sound and light system which should really enhance your experience,” she told us. “Super,” my family said in unison.

Except for me. I started digging around in my purse for extra earplugs. Sound systems are only heading in one direction and that is louder! I figured we were going to need them.

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My Tinnitus And The Power of Suggestion

Since we got our new hearing loss friendly TV, my husband and I have been watching a lot more television. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but watching TV is definitely more fun now that I can better follow the dialogue. We have gotten ourselves particularly addicted to one show on Netflix…

Last night, we were watching an episode where a character was experiencing periodic ringing in his ears as a result of a head injury. A high-pitched sound would play and the character would wince in pain, losing his ability to concentrate or converse. Tinnitus was never mentioned by name, but the signs were unmistakable. The sound played repeatedly through the episode and by the end of the hour, my ears were ringing too.

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When You Are Tackled by Tinnitus In The Testing Booth

The hearing aids come out. I startle from the shock of the ringing. My tinnitus is no longer masked by the real sounds around me. The door to the testing booth shuts with a thud that I feel more than hear. Since I wear my hearing aids 24/7, I rarely experience how quiet everything is without them. In some ways the cessation of sound is a relief, but only until the tinnitus arrives. Silence, yet for me, it is not silent. I sit alone with my ringing, waiting for the hearing test to start.

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What If Hearing Aids Were Noise Canceling?

I love my noise canceling headphones. I wear them to the movies, on planes and at concerts. A flick of the switch and extraneous sound recedes. It is heaven. Sometimes I wonder why this feature is not built into hearing aids. The technology obviously exists. Imagine that same flick of a switch at a restaurant or a noisy cocktail party. The background hum would disappear leaving only the voices loud and clear. Seriously, why does this not exist?

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When Your Hearing Aid Settings Are Just Wrong

This weekend my hearing aid settings were just wrong. I could hear every background noise, each buzz and beep, but not voices. At dinner, the silverware clinking on the plates blocked out the conversation. In the car, the sound of the wind overpowered the music. My children’s laughter in the back seat was excruciatingly loud, but my husband’s voice beside me was not discernible. I had visited the audiologist the day before and we had made a few tweaks. I couldn’t wait to go back to set things right.

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