Tinnitus And Technology

For quite some time, I’ve had
tinnitus. There are 3 or 4 different tones continuously ringing in my head between my ears. It’s constant, loud, and can be very bothersome at times, even anxiety inducing. So after trying some things on my own to no avail, I finally arranged a visit with my doctor to get my hearing checked out.

Earlier this week I got to visit an audiologist. After several hearing tests (man that room was quiet!), my tinnitus was confirmed. Thankfully, I do not have physical damage to my ear drum or any physical pain or discomfort.

Despite being undetected to the naked ear, my head-ringing is real. There were tones or sounds in the audio test that I missed. And unfortunately, I learned that I also have partial hearing loss.

I have the reverse slope loss, so sounds in the lower range around 500Hz are harder to hear, mostly in noisy places. The male voice is in this range, for example. So far my case is mild to moderate; nothing to get anxious about.

I also learned about some cool new tech! These days, hearing aids are impressive! And expensive; I thought a $160 pair of Apple AirPods cost a lot. Hearing aids are in the thousands of dollars!

But they can do some of what AirPods do and more! Some hearing aids have Bluetooth in them and pair with an app on your phone where you can custom tailor things like “white noise” if you want to drown out the head ringing tones.

Or you can stream music or phone calls through hearing aids. And of course they also help you hear in frequencies where you normally can’t. I don’t know how it all works, but I didn’t know they were so capable.

If you are interested, check out ReSound!

Please, Apple, you’ve got heart/pulse features in the Apple Watch. So could you also make some awesome HearPods!? AirPods that would double as hearing aids!

So while I could feel bummed about my incurable Tinnitus or worry about hearing loss getting worse, I’m kind of just glad to know that, if I need them, hearing aids will one day be pretty cool in a way.

I just hope it’s a long ways off; I’m only in my early forties!

When I consider the possibility of being deaf, I fear a few things. I think about all the great music that I won’t be able to listen to. For this, it helps me to realize that I can still “play songs in my head” from memory.

I would also miss the voices of my wife and kids! So, for that, I don’t let myself dwell on those thoughts.

There’s also the bad stuff I won’t have to listen to either! The alarm clock in the morning?! Nope. If I’m deaf, I won’t hear that thing! Maybe I’ll get to sleep in.

Well, there’s life for ya. Hearing loss happens. But I believe that God has blessed me with more beautiful sounds than I could ever deserve. And I will cherish the good stuff I can still hear for as many years as God and time allow.

The Lord gives hearing. And if he takes it away – blessed be the name of the Lord all the same.

What are your favorite things to hear?