I made myself an appointment to see the Dr, who then referred me to Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at the local hospital. The first thing I had done was a hearing test. My hearing was down slightly in one ear, but nothing too bad. Anyway to cut a long story short, I was told I was suffering from Tinnitus and I then got referred to the Tinnitus Clinic. At this appointment I was given loads of advice on how to deal with it e.g.. White noise and always have background noise on e.g. radio, tv etc. Night time was a problem, so I always had some kind of relaxing sound playing next to the bed. I was also fitted with what was called a white noise generator. It was a kind of hearing aid, but just played white noise in the background, the idea being to take my mind off the constant high pitched noise I would normally be listening to 24/7. The only way I can describe this tone is if you find something that plays different sounds or even a very high pitched tuning folk. Just imagine that noise going on in your head 24 hours a day. Grrrrr
The Noise Generator did help take my mind off it quite a bit and even though the high-pitched noise didn’t go away, I did seem to be able to push the annoying sound to the back of my mind quite a bit. Months and maybe year or so passed by and as I was coping so well with it I got back into teaching and working with kids, after all I really did enjoy doing this job. Anyway I was able to get a job doing the same thing, but working in a classroom setting. What a difference it make to the sound as it just didn’t echo so much, plus the carpets definitely cut the decibels down a lot. It was great, I got back to what I really enjoyed doing, working with people I had worked with before and of course teaching the kids.
Lets now fast forward a few years. I started to notice that the tinnitus seems to be getting louder and really starting to annoy me again, so I went back to the hospital and another hearing test was done. Well I was shocked to hear that my hearing had deteriorated quite a lot in my Right ear and it wasnt 100% in my left. They decided that a hearing aid would definitely improve my hearing and also help as a noise generator as it would bring background sounds up, masking the tinnitus. To be honest all this didn’t really surprise me as I had noticed that I was missing conversations and did sometimes feel a little out of the loop. When you work with kids, part of the job is to do observations, listen to their conversations etc. and it was becoming extremely difficult to hear what is being said, especially if you get one that speaks really quietly. When the hearing aid was suggested, you can imagine all the thoughts that crossed my mind. In my head I could imagine having to wear one when getting really old, but certainly not now. Crazy thoughts really, as many people of all ages wear them anyway and they certainly do not had the stigma to them that they use to have many years ago. If it was going to help my Tinnitus and my hearing then I was all for it and agreed instantly.
The day I got my new HA fitted, I will never forget. OMG I never realised how different everyone and everything could sound. It was weird really and I can only best describe it as having walked around with some very thick ear plugs for a long time and then suddenly having them removed. Oh and when I stepped out of the building, that was just crazy, it was like every sound was exaggerated. I could hear my footsteps as I walked, the birds singing etc. What a difference it made. The good thing was that it did have a volume control thingy, so I could turn it down it the sound got a bit too much. But to be honest it didn’t take long to get use to it and it was brilliant at masking out the Tinnitus.
Well a good few years down the line, the left ear started to get worse, so I ended up with a HA in the left ear too. They do say that Tinnitus can have a lot to do with Hearing loss, so maybe the two things are connected. It can still get very noisy in the classroom, but I am able to turn the hearing aids down if it does. But the great thing is that they do help with the Tinnitus a lot and help to mask it out. It can be a little hard at night though. Im not so bad at getting off to sleep, its only really if I wake up in the night that I have a problem with it.