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Real Patients: Tinnitus


Interviewee #1

The tinnitus, you know, it started kind of mild and I noticed it. It was kind of a subtle thing. It got to the point where it was fairly noticeable. And then I guess I just became habituated to it and didn’t notice it quite as much.

Interviewee #2

My version of tinnitus is a constant … it’s almost like a ringing sound. It sounds a lot like the hearing test. It took me forever to figure out that their tones are pulsed. Mine is not. It’s there. Right now, it’s going crazy because we’re talking about it. But unless it’s really quiet, I really don’t notice it. I’ve learned to kind of tune it out.

Interviewee #3

Imagine your head on the pillow and all of the sudden, it sounds like your heartbeat is skipping. And believe it or not, you would think that you’re in tune, even though you’re not. That ringing in the ear makes a big difference for a lot of stuff. I have ringing right now. But with my hearing aids, it actually muffles that.

Interviewee #4

It goes a lot from being really loud … it goes in and out from loud to quietness, back to loud.

Interviewee #5

My tinnitus is there all the time. I don’t go without ever actually hearing it. It gets worse in the evening times when it’s quiet. So if I’m not doing anything or there’s not a lot of sound around, it gets a lot louder. But if I have background noise, or something to that effect, it seems to get better.

Interviewee #3

So imagine that ringing being very hard. Then you got ear plugs in and then you got ear muffs. And it sounds like your head’s going to explode sometimes. It gets very, very annoying and very, very rough to handle.

Interviewee #5

I can’t drive with the windows down very often because that bothers it very much, too. So I do that — keep the windows up — turn the AC on, turn the radio up.

Interviewee #1

It seems as though, as we’ve treated my hearing and wearing my hearing aids, and maybe allowing my ears to rest some, that it’s diminished. I don’t notice it quite as much, you know. So I think between just habituating to it and then just resting my ears, and being more conscious of it and being more conscious of noises — because I usually work pretty hard to protect my hearing. That’s kind of made it a lot more tolerable than it had been in the past.

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The Hearing Center of Excellence fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. It supports the development, exchange and adoption of best practices, research, measures of effectiveness and clinical care guidelines to reduce the prevalence and cost of hearing loss and tinnitus among Warriors and Veterans. Read more

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