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Thread: Audiologist caused Tinnitus?

  1. Default Audiologist caused Tinnitus?

    I hope some one can give advice on hit subject . I purchased a pair of Oticon op1 . Superb hearing aid ! I loved them . Well they are controlled by my iPhone . You can listen to phone calls play music thru them etc. I had them for for about two weeks and I noticed that when I played music thru them it sounded frankly terrible. So I went back to the audiologist to ask what can be done. She said they isn't a {music program } in them like some manufactures have but she could do her best to create one. Well she did this and when I went out I thought the left one was louder than the left. Well that night is when the problems began . I started hearing a rumbling noise in my left ear. Next night it got worse. My suggested I give the hearing aids a rest for a day.Which I did .

    That night I had no issues. I made a appointment to go back to audiologist to see about my hearing aids. The girl I saw was on vacation so I saw another girl. She stated to me that the other audiologist turned the left hearing aid way up and the right one down. She put the settings back to the way they were previously . I them proceeded to wear them . That night is when the trouble really began . I had severe noise in my left ear. Like a electric motor or fan in my ear. I went around the house looking for something running . The toilet or something else . I asked my wife and she said she could not hear anything . I put a ear plug in my ear and I could still hear it. So I knew then It was in y head.

    The next two nights it got worse. I put on of my headphone cups over my left ear and played soft music so I could mask the sound so I could get some sleep. The third day voices ,the phone and tv became distorted when I heard . Almost robotic in a way. Like a artificial voice box maybe but not that severe. By them I am very very worried .I made appointment to see my ENT and I saw him the next morning at 8am. He told me I had experienced a threshold shift . He said it was similar to being at a rock concert with no ear plugs He put me on prednisone and a diuretic and zyrtec.THE ENT TOLD ME NOT TO WEAR THEM FOR A WEEK1

    I went back to see my audiologist with my concerns . She now told be her recommendation is to return the hearing aids and I can not wear them because I have had brain surgery and a past history of Meneier's disease. I pleaded with her that I love the hearing aids and they help me a lot. Well she them told me she would drop the MPO {maximum power output} in the left ear. The roaring noise continued in my ear and I stopped wearing them and I returned them today.

    I continue to have this roaring noise in my ear. It is not as loud as before but it is there every day with no let up. Its starting to really bug me out. I was up till 3 am last night with my headphones on playing a app from Beltone that plays sounds to mask the noise.

    I have never had tinnitus in my left ear. Never till she popped them in my ear. The ENT stated I have a experience a threshold shift in my left ear after wearing them Plus she denied raising the volume in the left ear.

    My question is this ? Did she do permanent damage to my left ear ? I pray to god this noise will go away. She seemed often quick for me to return them . I also told her I had brain surgery and Meneir's before I bought hearing aids. If I was so fragile why did she sell me the hearing aids

    I am deeply worried that she damaged my ear and I have to live with this . I am now having minor panic attacks over this and I need some answers to put my mind at ease.

    Can some some helpmate please with this. I scheduled a appointment with another audiologist near me in two weeks to help me too

  2. #2
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    You don't need to see another audiologist as much as you need to see an ENT. Tell the ENT assistant about your sudden change and ask for an immediate appointment. Do it now.
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  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by KenP View Post
    You don't need to see another audiologist as much as you need to see an ENT. Tell the ENT assistant about your sudden change and ask for an immediate appointment. Do it now.
    I thought that the OP already saw an ENT, no?

    To the OP: I wouldn't be too quick to blame it on the audi who accidentally raised the volume on your left ear. First of all, you said that you had the OPN for about 2 weeks and things were good until you started noticing that the streaming music sounds terrible. I don't think that it's the OPN that started making the music sound bad all of a sudden. It's more likely that something started changing with your hearing that made the music sound terrible. So this is probably the first clue that your hearing is changing for the worse.

    And by the way, the music program in most HAs is basically to remove most noise reduction and compression, etc, to make the music that travels through the air wave sound more natural to your ears. But this is not for streamed music. Usually streamed music (or streamed sound in general) doesn't need to be processed in the first place because they've already been processed at the studio for final production, so usually there's no music mode for streaming, there's just streamed mode. So even if the audi created a music program for you at your request, it probably wasn't having any effect for your streamed music anyway.

    Back to the topic at hand, the accidentally raised volume on your left ear might have accelerated the tinnitus issue that you have, but realistically maybe a loud sound of a truck driving by or maybe one dinner at a loud/noisy restaurant might have done the trick and triggered it just the same, you never know. You did notice that the left volume was louder than the right, but at least it didn't seem like it was uncomfortably loud enough that you had to turn down the volume on your HA right away. I wonder why you didn't catch the louder left volume right away while you were still at the audi's office. Normally sound imbalance is very delicate and would be the first thing a patient detects right away when the balance is off, even for just normal conversation.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

    KHz 0.25...0.5...0.75...1.0...1.5...2.0...3.0...4.0... 6.0...8.0

    Left ...10...10....10.....30.....70....75....80....95.. ..90....80
    Right .25...30....40.....55.....75....85....90....90...1 00...100

  4. Default

    You said
    First of all, you said that you had the OPN for about 2 weeks and things were good until you started noticing that the streaming music sounds terrible. I don't think that it's the OPN that started making the music sound bad all of a sudden. It's more likely that something started changing with your hearing that made the music sound terrible. So this is probably the first clue that your hearing is changing for the worse.

    I did not utilize the hearing aids to play music till after two weeks ! The hearing aids worked perfectly for me with no issues. I then tried using my iPhone to play some music thru them and then I noticed the songs sounded at very low volume and sounded like a. old am radio. I then saw her and she {tweaked} them . She was unfamiliar withe OP1 in my opinion . I honestly think I had more knowledge of them thru my research on line and reading these posts.As far as me picking up on the difference in sound balance . In my defense I was in a very small office with just her and I . No outside sounds . She just asked me how they sound . Like I stated I picked up the diffenrence when I left and had lunch afterward .

    I had the upmost trust in her at he time and if she programs the hearing aids and tells me they are ok and give me time to adjust to them that is what I did.

    I did try to contact them to question what is going on and I maybe didn't mention this but she had left and I saw the other girl in the office and she looked at them and said the left volume was increased and the right volume was decreased and she did not know why she did this and put the original settings back. She is the owner of the business ! I unfortunately did not have the knowledge tomato this adjustment my self.

    I just got back from seeing my ENT. He stated to me that their is a possibility that this error on her part could have been at fault . He said this noise Im hearing in my ear might pass and he hopes so as do I . He put me on Xanax and said it might make this go away. I'm not a doctor and he has been my doctor for 15+ years but I dont see how a sedative is going to help. Of course at night it will . I am now sleeping at night with a ear bud in my left ear and playing a Beltone sound app in my ear to mask the sound. This problem I not helping my wife either. In my 60 years I have never have any problems in my left year. I have had severe problems with my right ear . Several surgeries for chloesteatoma . I see my ENT every two months to have my right ear cleaned out under a microscope . Without a hearing aid which I have always worn in that ear for all intents and purposes I can not hear in that ear. My left ear is my savior !

    And this audiologist attitude when I came back with my issues really got my dandruff up. Not at the time because I needed help and kept my cool looking for answers . She basically informed me to send them back and I can not wear hearing aids. I believe she was overwhelmed and saw a future problem possibility of a legal issue and decided to say goodbye. Lie I stated when I told her what the owner said said about her turning the left hearing aid up and the right lower she denied doing that right to my face .My wife was present at the time.

    So that puts one in my corner . Would you go to someone who lies right to your face about what she had done. Big credibilty issue there folks.

    So I hope this resolves itself but I am gathering as much info as I can from a many sources as I can but if this condition continues and based on my ENT comments that it could have been caused by her errors . I will seek legal consul. . Of course my ENT mostly would not say absolutely that that was the cause on my condition since no one wants to go to court hearings and loose money .

  5. #5


    Thanks for the clarification, chowguy60. I didn't know that you didn't start streaming music until later on. It's weird that the music quality is bad from the get go, but without knowing your audiogram and what kind of dome you're being fitted, it's hard to say why. If you have normal hearing in the low frequencies and wear an open dome, then it's possible that the low frequency amplification from the streamed music may escape through the vents from the open dome, causing it to sound like an old AM radio with mostly the mids and the highs in the first place. If this is the case, it's not the issue with the OPN per se, but it's just an issue with this type of fitting for this type of hearing loss.

    Of course I don't have any skin in the game so I would have no interest to defend your audi per se. Clearly she made a mistake and had the wrong attitude with you afterward for not admitting her mistake and not trying to be more helpful but instead wanted to shut you out. But as a person from the outside looking in, all I was trying to say is that I think it'd be very hard to conclusively pin the blame on the audi's mistake, because her lawyer (if she's going be sued) can argue from many different angles that many other external factors would have triggered the tinnitus and not necessarily the louder volume from the HA alone can be solely responsible for it. The lawyer can easily counter that how do they know if you hadn't increased the volume yourself, maybe just to see how loud the HA can amplify, and as a result triggered the tinnitus? I know you didn't, but all they had to do is to cast doubt about what the real root cause/trigger point is to create enough uncertainties to render the judge unable to rule in lights of uncertainties. They may also try to transfer the blame to Oticon, and after all, Oticon is the one with the deep pocket, not the audi anyway. The ENT's testimony that it's a possibility is not probably not enough in the court of law to assign blame anyway.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

    KHz 0.25...0.5...0.75...1.0...1.5...2.0...3.0...4.0... 6.0...8.0

    Left ...10...10....10.....30.....70....75....80....95.. ..90....80
    Right .25...30....40.....55.....75....85....90....90...1 00...100

  6. #6


    I responded to this this morning and it was lost to the internet gremlins, so now I have to try to remember what I wrote.

    If you have Meniere's as you say in your first post (which is an *if*, because it's often overdiagnosed), then fluctuating hearing loss and a rumbling tinnitus are a predictable consequence. The tinnitus likely has nothing to do with the hearing aid. Even without the Meniere's, just based on what you say, I would bet that the hearing aids did not cause the tinnitus. You did not ever mention that you noticed them being particularly loud, and modern hearing aids have a maximum output that is generally set lower than will cause damage to your ears. Disclaimer: I don't know your hearing loss nor the settings of your hearing aid. I'd still say the likelihood of the hearing aid causing tinnitus is low. On average, ENTs don't know a lot about hearing aids. The happy news from this is that you can certainly go back to wearing the hearing aids that you seem to really like without worrying about tinnitus.

    As for why the audiologist (WAS it an audiologist?) that you initially saw set one ear higher and one ear lower, there are all sorts of reasons. Did she do any initial verification? Did you at some point say, "The left ear sounds louder"? Did you complain about echoiness of your own voice and did she determine it was just on one side? Is your hearing loss slightly asymmetrical? It's also possible, if she's pretty new, or jsut new with the Opns and a slow learner, that your hearing aids were set evenly and when she boosted them at your follow-up she failed to save the settings in one ear and so one ended up boosted and the other not. And so on. I can imagine a lot of pretty innocuous situations as to why that might happen, and if you were walking around without noticing a big imbalance between your ears than the differences were probably minimal. If anything, it strikes me as a bit of a bad move by the owner to throw her employee into the fire about an issue that actually sounds pretty small when she could have just reassured you.

    As for the tinnitus: You need to start working at ignoring it ASAP. You've been to the ENT, so you don't need to worry that it's something that it's not. It's just a noise. The more you focus on it and worry about it, the more interested in it your brain will become and it will get louder and more irritating. That's probably why the ENT prescribed the Xanax. This of it as a tool to help you ignore the tinnitus in these initial stages. The better you get at ignoring it, at distracting yourself, at not thinking about it, the softer and less intrusive it will become. Think of it like the hum of your fridge or the sound of your furnace coming on--it's just a sound in the background that is not dangerous and that you can safely ignore. When it's particularly bothersome, turn on some music, or a fan, or open the window to reduce the contrast between the tinnitus and the silence. You may find that for a while ignoring the tinnitus is a very active process--you have to force yourself to do it. Keep at it. After a while, ignoring it will be easy and it will fade into the background. It will probably be there for your whole life, at least from time to time, but the better you get at tuning it out the more likely you'll be to experience times when it is just gone.

    I know the tinnitus sucks right now. I've been there. But you'll be fine. It will get better.

  7. #7


    I like Neville's comments and suggestion a lot. It reminds me of when I first started to wear my OPN1. I was so used to the noise reduction on my old Rexton that any noise that I couldn't control and reduce from the OPN aggravated me so much. And as you know, the OPN basically opens up all the sounds to you. Sure, they do some balancing and this and that, but you still hear them all. After understanding why the OPN does what it does, because of this new open paradigm, I came to accept and embrace how it is. Within about a month, all the surrounding noises don't bother me as much anymore. I learn that you can train your brain hearing to ignore what you don't want to hear, and it's a battle of will power. It's not gone, it's still there if you pay attention to it. But if you ignore it and don't let it bother you, eventually it stops bothering you. Of course I don't have tinnitus so it's easier for me to say this (about ignoring the noises) than for you to put up with your tinnitus. But I think the principle is the same and I guess tinnitus is just another, but very bothersome, noise, after all.

    In talking about the imbalance, I remember that in my very first fitting with the OPN, I noticed immediately as they turn on the HAs that the volume on my right side is much louder than my left side. It was interesting because they just programmed the original setting based on my audiogram, so why would I hear the imbalance right away? And by the way, my right hearing at the time has worsened by a bit compared to my left hearing, so I'm sure the original setting based on the audiogram took that into account and therefore boosted up the volume on my right side a little bit more to be create the balance in theory, based on the numbers, if anything. I could only conclude that my brain must have compensated for the worsened hearing on my right side and become more volume sensitive on the right side to make up for the gradually more loss. So that's why I perceived the imbalance on the new HAs, even though on paper, the settings are probably correctly uneven based on the numbers.

    The point of this is that it seems like you also have asymmetrical hearing since you mentioned that your left ear has been your better ear all along. So we don't know exactly what happened except that your hearing is asymmetrical in the first place, and you perceived the imbalance after the second fitting and the owner confirmed an imbalance but the fitter denied causing an imbalance, etc. It's just all too confusing to really know who's right and who's wrong and maybe it was just perceived differences after all for all we know.

    In the end, I think Neville has the right suggestion here. Focus on training your brain hearing to ignore the tinnitus so that you can enjoy wearing your new OPNs again. I also read some posts on this forum where people say that their tinnitus got better after they wear HAs. Maybe it simply helps them focus on hearing the sound they want to hear so that they can ignore the sound they don't want to hear.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 03-23-2017 at 05:21 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

    KHz 0.25...0.5...0.75...1.0...1.5...2.0...3.0...4.0... 6.0...8.0

    Left ...10...10....10.....30.....70....75....80....95.. ..90....80
    Right .25...30....40.....55.....75....85....90....90...1 00...100

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