For more than 35 years, Ronald Nutter suffered from the debilitating affects of tinnitus. After numerous doctor visits and countless hours of research, the IT professional from Missouri had all but given up hope for finding help. This changed one night when he saw a commercial for a new tinnitus solution from Starkey Hearing Technologies. After being fit with NuEar SDS Tinnitus by NuSound Hearing Center, Nutter was once again able to live without the constant ringing in his ears that had become all too familiar.
Recently, he wrote a short ebook to discuss his experience dealing with tinnitus and hearing loss. We recently sat down with Ronald to talk about his book where he discusses his long battle with tinnitus and offers encouraging advice for others who suffer.
Q. Your book gives a detailed account about your battle with tinnitus. What motivated you to write about this?
When I heard about the sheer numbers of those who were sharing the same problem as I am, I knew that I needed to do something. When I mentioned this to several folks that I know, I was surprised that they too were suffering from what sounds to be the same condition I am. When I learned that others that I knew were dealing with this too, that confirmed that I needed to do something.
Q. You mentioned that you did a lot of research on tinnitus and more specifically academic research. Can you discuss why that was important for you?
Since I was embarking on a new journey, I wanted to make sure that I knew as much as I could about tinnitus. This would make sure that I was going into this with my eyes wide open. It would also serve me well when I started talking with several potential providers. If I found that they knew less about the subject than I did, that would cause me to question if they were the best one for me to work with as I looked for the best way to deal with my tinnitus.
The publication I found that told me that NuEar/Starkey was the right company for me to deal with was Innovations Volume 3 Issue 1 2013. This is an issue that is dedicated to Tinnitus. This gave me the additional details that helped fill in the blanks from what I hadn’t learned from my research. This told me that NuEar/Starkey was more concerned about the relationship with their clients and partners than how many devices can be sold.
Q. What is the most important thing for people to consider during their first few weeks of wearing hearing aids?
Keep a diary of what you are noticing in terms of differences in how you hear things. For example, does the radio/CD player in your vehicle sound different? When you are in a small room vs. a large one, how does your ability to hear others talk change?
Some things that I noticed in the first week of having the devices didn’t change immediately because there is an adjustment period while you are getting used to the devices. It is important to review your notes or diary with your hearing aid provider. Sometime it takes a pattern of certain events happening to know how the best way to proceed to resolve it. A good example of this was for me being able to hear not only when the hearing aids change modes but the messages that accompanied those changes. I also had one case where one of the batteries died and I didn’t hear the message “battery.” The provider I am working with helped identify how much the level of the announcements needed to be increased so I could hear them but not too much to where it sounded like someone was yelling in my ear.
Q. What types of things are you able to do now that you weren’t able to do before receiving treatment for your tinnitus?
I can make it through long meetings better than I had been able to for a while. I work in IT so I periodically have to take exams or tests to keep my certifications current. Since each exam costs between $200 to $300 to schedule and attempt to pass, I want to pass the exam on the first try. My employer only reimburses me when I pass the exam, so I don’t want to have to take multiple attempts. I usually spend between 100 to 200 hours studying for an exam, so I don’t want to have to study any more because I didn’t pass.
Even when I am on long drives in my vehicle or working all day at a volunteer event and my tinnitus flares up, I can deal with it far better than I could before I got the devices. The day that I was to be fitted almost didn’t happen. I was on my way to the appointment and my tinnitus flared up in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I was starting to pull over because of the increase of the volume of the sound when it subsided.
Q. What other advice do you have for people who are suffering from tinnitus?
You know your hearing better than anyone else. If you run across someone who says there is nothing they can do or they cant find the problem you are describing, don’t give up. You may need to find someone else to help you. If you can find someone who either has tinnitus or has worked with someone who has it that may be your best option for getting help.
You may find that periodic adjustments to your devices may be needed. Your tinnitus may change depending on the season of the year or the altitude you are at. You will find days to deal or cope with it.