Tinnitus is one of the most common ear-related issues, and yet many are left fearing that there’s little to be done about it.
This was the case for Jose Silveira who for years was unaware treatment was available for the constant ringing he had in his ears.
“I have endured tinnitus for over a decade, and kept being told by various GPs that nothing could be done,” said Jose.
“I knew I also had some hearing loss, after nearly 20 years of driving a bus with the window open. In recent years the ringing got a bit worse and really began to impact the things I love doing, such as reading, golf, travelling and going to trivia in noisy pubs with friends.”
Jose first became aware of Hear and Say’s services when his daughter joined the organisation’s Brisbane team, and encouraged him to book an appointment with an audiologist to see if there was a connection between his hearing loss and increasingly-frustrating tinnitus.
“If someone has a hearing loss, it means they are missing out on important stimulation from external sounds around them. Research suggests that the brain can then try to compensate by replicating those sounds internally. For example, someone with a high pitch hearing loss may experience a high-pitched tinnitus or ringing in their ears,” explained Hear and Say Audiology Manager, Julie Decker.
“When we address the hearing loss with hearing aids and people regain access to those environmental sounds, the brain typically goes back to focusing on that stimulation rather than the internal sounds – thereby reducing the tinnitus they experience.”
Following a hearing test at Hear and Say, Jose went onto have hearing aids fitted. It was an experience he said has gone on to significantly enhance his day-to-day communication and overall quality of life.
“The hearing aids – which were not as expensive as some I had heard about – have greatly reduced the ringing in my ears, and my hearing has improved generally too,” said Jose.
“Now I can easily hear the trivia questions at the pub, and the other day I even heard the paw steps of the dog next door. I also really enjoy really listening the birds every morning and evening in the park across the road from home. It’s a big change from when I had to keep turning the TV up, and was always saying, ‘Pardon?’ to my wife which was frustrating for us both.”
Jose said he found the process of having his hearing aids fitted “informative and professional”, and urged others to look into their options if they noticed a decline in their hearing or faced trouble with tinnitus.
“I would strongly encourage people to get checked if you have hearing loss or notice ringing in your ears like I did. You can only benefit from seeing professionals like those at Hear and Say who are so passionate about helping us hear.”