Ring Out the Old

New generation of hearing aids relieves tinnitus symptoms.

During the 30 years he has spent working as a pharmacist, Paul Garneau has had to break the sad news to hundreds of people seeking a remedy for tinnitus that there is no absolute cure for it. Just recently, Paul himself had to come to grips with that fact as well.
“For me, it was something that came on gradually over the last three or four years,” Paul says of the condition more commonly known as ringing in the ears. “Little by little, it just started getting worse and worse.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Paul Garneau

“Luckily, it never reached a point with me where it was keeping me up at night and really driving me crazy. But I can tell you it was the last thing I noticed before falling asleep each night and the first thing I noticed when I woke up the next morning.”
Had that been the worst of Paul’s issues, he might have never sought professional help for the problem. When the tinnitus began to affect his concentration and ability to hear clearly at work, the 54-year-old chose to get proactive.
He started by visiting his primary care physician, who recommended he see Drianis Duran, AuD, at Gulf Coast Audiology in Fort Myers. What Paul learned upon first being examined by Dr. Duran surprised him. It also eased a lot of his concerns.
“What she found was that I had a measurable loss of hearing at a very specific frequency range,” Paul relates.
“Dr. Duran told me the tinnitus is actually a symptom of the brain trying to compensate for that loss of hearing.
“She said your brain produces that tone to fill in the blanks, but it ends up just being annoying rather than helpful. She then told me that if you correct the hearing loss, the tinnitus becomes less noticeable. That was very encouraging.”

Masking Agent

Though there is no absolute cure for tinnitus, hearing aid manufacturers now develop devices designed to mask the annoying sounds it creates. Through her examination, Dr. Duran learned that one such device would work well for Paul.
“The first thing you do with tinnitus is figure out how bothersome it really is,” Dr. Duran informs. “Is it something you notice all the time, is it easily masked by environmental sounds or is it something you only hear when it’s very quiet?
“In Paul’s case, it was something he heard when he paid attention to it or it was very quiet. That told me, If I give the brain back the sounds it’s missing at those specific frequencies, it will mask the tinnitus.
To achieve that objective, Dr. Duran recommended the latest generation of a ReSound hearing instrument that includes features designed to mask the tinnitus. The results have been “miraculous,” Paul says.
“I had lost my hearing so gradually that I didn’t realize I was missing all these things, but all of a sudden, I could once again hear sounds like leaves crinkling or birds chirping or my cat purring,” he says. “It was almost tear-worthy.”
The new hearing aids didn’t just improve Paul’s hearing. They also improved his health. After just two days of wearing them, he discovered he was also sleeping much better, which made him fresher and more alert at work.
“The outcome I’ve had is better than I ever thought it would be!” Paul exclaims. “I just can’t thank Dr. Duran and her staff enough for all they’ve done for me. They’re excellent, and I would recommend them to anybody.”

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    • Gulf Coast Audiology

      Gulf Coast Audiology is owned and operated by Drianis Duran, AuD, a board-certified doctor of audiology. Gulf Coast Audiology offers the highest quality hearing aids, service, repairs, accessories and batteries. They also specialize in vestibul... Read More

    • Drianis Duran, AuD

      Drianis Duran, AuD, is a board-certified audiologist with clinical expertise in the areas of hearing loss and dizziness and balance disorders. She holds credentials from the American Board of Audiology, the American Academy of Audiology, the A... Read More