April 12th, 2016 | Ask an Audiologist | by Andreas Seelisch

An an Audiologist – Viral Infection’s Effect on Hearing

The auditory system is complex, to say the least. When you get an ear infection, the average person doesn’t expect to lose any of their hearing in the process.

But what if you do? What next?

Hearing Solutions Audiology Manager, Andreas Seelisch, looks into an enquiry received from our website.

Ask an Audiologist…

I went to an audiologist and she said I got a viral infection and have lost the lower register in my right ear. I question that because I have major tinnitus and motors and my car motor are now so much louder than it ever was before.

The hearing aid she got for me seems to just make those noises even louder. I have the Widex Zen hearing aid and it has helped with the tinnitus, but motor sounds, fridge, furnace sounds, dishes clanging, and going into any stores just drive me crazy. Do you think the lower register caused this?

It’s like I now have supersonic hearing without my hearing aid, and wearing it just seems to make it louder. I spent $2,500.00 on this hearing aid.

Hopefully you could shed some light on my situation. Thanks.

Response…

Not seeing your results first hand, it’s hard to give you clear answers. But I can give you insights into some of what your experiencing.

The Zen program, and actually a hearing aid in general, are two of the best treatments we have for tinnitus.

There is some evidence to suggest it will even help more as time goes on. Your brain may learn to get better at shifting its focus away from the tinnitus.

In terms of your sensitivity to certain sounds, this at times happens with hearing loss.

While your nerves become less sensitive to certain pitches, the point at which they find sounds to be “loud” does not change much.

So, you get a reduced range of hearing. This means sounds going from being too soft to hear to suddenly loud happens much more quickly. This is called “loudness growth” or “recruitment.”

To some degree the more you wear the aid, the more you will adjust to some of those sounds. Because of that I would encourage you to wear your hearing aid as much as possible.

I hope that helps!

Andreas Seelisch, MSc, BHSc (Hons), Reg. CASLPO

Andreas Seelisch is a registered Audiologist with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario. Andreas is currently working as the Audiology Manager at Hearing Solutions.

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