Living with Tinnitus Through Technology – My Story

The purpose of my post here today is for many reasons.

First I would like to share my experiences with my friends, and followers on my venture of re-discovering my hearing through technology.

Many of my friends around the world who follow me on the various Social Networks such as facebook, and twitter have probably witnessed my suffering of Tinnitus by way of my update posting patterns, and this post should give those friends the full insight, and conclusion of my condition. Tinnitus.

Secondly, hopefully bring to the attention of other Tinnitus sufferers that there is help available with technology, and finally, what this technology can do for the likes of myself, and other hard of hearing sufferers by introducing two devices that work with digital hearing aids. The Oticon Streamer, and the Nokia Wireless Loopset LPS-5.

Ok, here goes..

Following the on-going suffering of ringing in both of my ears for several months, getting worse each week, it got to the point where I had to seek specialist help as I was being driven crazy by the constant ringing in both my ears.

After seeing a specialist I discovered that this ringing is a well-known condition, called Tinnitus, and the cause of what I assumed may of caused it in the first place, which was working in a noisy environment in a past career, wasn’t to blame, but in actual fact it was a genetic disorder I have in both of my ear canals.

It was this genetic disorder in both of my ears, which resulted in me losing the lower range of frequencies of my hearing, and something I had come to live with over time. I have always had some difficulty hearing certain things, but never really realised I had a problem until this ringing started to get worse, I had come to live with it due to thinking it was just my age, and being 40 I thought things were normal.

How wrong was I. When my hearing specialist suggested I try hearing aids, at first I was sceptical, and thought I didn’t need them, but agreed to give them a go.

I went through various testing, and eventually went through the fitting process for my hearing aids, which included having a mould injected in each of my ears, which would then be used to build my hearing aids inner ear modules.

After a few weeks my custom fitted hearing aids were ready to collect, so off I went to the hospital to get fitted with them. It was only then I discovered something which I can only describe a sheer emotional.

Upon fitting both my hearing aids, I discovered just how bad my actual hearing was prior to using them. I could hear things I had come to live without hearing, like a ticking clock, the sound of the material of my clothing when brushed.

Venturing outside, things took an even bigger step, I had to re-live my whole hearing life all over again, I’m not exaggerating either. The simplest of things we all take for granted is mind-blowing.

The sound of fallen leaves from the trees blowing along the roadside. The sounds of rainwater flowing down a drain.

I could now hear these things, and as said earlier, this was quite an emotional experience for me having lived for many years not hearing these sounds.

Then arriving home, as you can imagine, I could hear everything, life was amazing, and I was so overwhelmed, that I had to take a week or so from my daily blogging to get accustomed to my new life, and hearing. It’s really hard to describe this to someone who has perfect hearing, but until you actually lose partial hearing, and live with it for a while, its only then you realise after wearing hearing aids just how much we take for granted.

About my hearing aids, although very expensive, at first I thought they were worth every penny of the €800 Euros each they cost, but being digital hearing aids, the functionality of these hearing aids had not fully been realised yet.

Wearing my hearing aids daily, it was apparent to me, that whenever someone called me on my phone, I had serious problems in hearing the when I put my phone to my ear. Due to this I started searching the web to see what other hearing aid wearers do to overcome this.

I discovered that there was a device available for my digital hearing aids called a Oticon Steamer. This Streamer, worn around your neck with its supplied neck strap, the streamer itself rests on your chest area.

What happens next is quite amazing, and just shows how technologies used today enrich people’s lives. The Oticon Stream, once switched on, automatically connects to your Oticon digital hearing aids, allowing you to control the volume of both hearing aids via the Streamer itself rather than having the adjust your hearing aids directly.

The functionality don’t stop there though. The Oticon Streamer, as the name suggests, streams content from your mobile phone to your digital hearing aids, meaning that you never have to put a mobile phone to your hear every again! Incredible.

Not only that, things get even better, you can also listen to your phone’s music via the streamer too, and whilst the sound may not be anywhere near as good quality you get with proper acoustic headphones, its still amazing for Tinnitus sufferers like myself.

With the Oticon Streamer, you can connect to any Bluetooth device, be it a phone, an iPod, or even your TV Set via a Bluetooth sender unit. The Oticon Streamer is quite a comprehensive device, boasting dedicated buttons for answering your mobile phone, music selection, and Bluetooth connectivity button, oh, and a lock switch.

Another solution I discovered shortly after being fitted with hearing aids was the Nokia Wireless Loopset, LPS-5, this is a more simplistic solution for those who want a really simple to use, single button connectivity with their mobile phone, and music player.

The Nokia Wireless Loopset, just like the Oticon, has a neck strap, and is worn the same way as the Oticon Streamer, but unlike the Oticon model, the Nokia Loopset requires you to switch your digital hearing aids to the T mode.

This T Mode is a built in feature of the hearing aids which allows their wearers to switch to T mode whilst out and about in certain area’s, and buildings where the T Sign is displayed. This allows the hard of hearing an exclusive, personal experience of the surroundings they are in. In some cases, depending on location, a personal guide on where to find things within said building, light music, or even connectivity with special speakers within a buildings overhead speaker systems.

I will be detailing both the Oticon Streamer, and the Nokia Wireless Loopset in accompanying posts later today.

Kind of like a review of each, but showing the functionality of each by way of an easy to follow video guides. I will also be posting links to all products, and further information on the various help you can get for free online on dealing with Tinnitus.

Should you have any questions about either of these devices, please drop me a comment/question below, and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Thanks for reading!

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  • Ms. Jen

    Hi Micky,

    Thank you for writing up a much fuller account than the bits on Twitter. I am very glad to hear that the hearing aids are correcting a genetic condition, as 40 is NOT old.

    so says Ms. Jen who is 42 and not old at all.


    • Micky

      Thanks Jen, Well I never, I thought you were in your early 30′s, honestly.

  • Ms. Jen

    Amusingly, I still get carded. I think folks think I am 10 years younger than I am due to the fact that I am short, plump-ish (plumps out any wrinkles), have small features, and I stayed out of the sun when I was young (yay for the punk/goth youth). Also there is the no smoking and lots of water drinking, plus the bouncy attitude. I think I am 26 inside. ;oD

  • bte hearing aid fremont CA

    Thank you for the post! There are a lot of people who actually have a lot of ear problem or tinnitus and do not know the correct procedure to help get rid of it.