Ring, Ring… It’s Tinnitus. Ugh.

Like many people with sensorineural hearing loss, I have tinnitus in both ears and I hate it.  I can’t imagine anyone saying otherwise.

On my right side it’s a high steady tone.   On the left it’s more of a low hum, sort of like the noise from an air conditioner.  Tinnitus can result from a number of things such as loud noise, illness or hearing loss.  From what I’ve read it’s sort of like phantom limb syndrome, where an amputee feels sensation or pain in the missing limb.  In the case of hearing it’s my brain simulating sound in response to missing hair cells in the cochlea.  They don’t know why or how to make it stop.  Many, many people would love a cure, myself included.

I’m lucky in that I have managed to get used to it.  I’ve had time.  It’s been about 20 years since it first started, on my right side.  I’m not sure when the left began exactly. During the day, with other sounds masking it somewhat, it’s not terrible.  When I lie down at night to go to sleep, sometimes I really wish it would stop.  But then I fall asleep.

The question is will the implant have an impact on the tinnitus?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I’ve read some reports that the tinnitus is temporarily worse. Auugh!  Please no.  I’ve read other reports that when the implant is connected with the processor and on, there is a masking effect resulting from hearing more sounds.  Again, at night when you’re “unplugged” it may be the same as it is now.   Another case of we shall see….