This morning, no matter what I have been doing, I am aware of three sounds in my ears: unfortunately. It doesn't matter whether I've been breakfasting, waiting at the bus stop with the kids, sitting at the computer, or showering. I continue to hear all three noises.
It's not just this morning, of course; these irritating noises are always present to varying degrees.
There is a continual sort of chirping in my right ear. I have said 'chirping' for want of a better word, but it's much like listening to a field of crickets at night. At this moment, there is also a louder rumbling in that same right ear: kind of like a motor running at a constant pitch. Said motor used to run in my left ear but now has mostly switched to the right side, although it alternates back to the left periodically, mostly when I am in bed. I often wake up with the rumbling in the left ear, but it soon switches back to the right.
The third sound is now constant in my left ear. This one is kind of a dull, bass roar, something like a busy highway or speedway in the distance. Unlike the other two sounds, it constantly changes it pitch or volume (hard for me to tell which). This is where the highway/speedway comparison is apt for cars would change their volume as they vary their distance to the listener.
I have had tinnitus for years now although I have only been aware of it for the past two or three. You see, for a long time I thought I was hearing environmental noises, for it was like a fan or some such running in the background and not too loudly at that. At that time it was just or mainly the single fan or motor noise that I heard, so I truly thought I was picking up something real.
Anyway, I have three sounds now, the most recent being the speedway. And, of course, the others have been getting louder. Sometimes, I am very conscious of the noises, and, sometimes, my brain pushes them into the background — thankfully. They're always there, but when my mind gets preoccupied, I may not notice them.
Then, there is the hearing loss, which actually came first, even though I am recounting it second here. I won't go into it in detail, except to say that I first noticed the beginnings of loss at about the age of 40, and by the age of 50, I was beginning to live with hearing aids. I am now on my fourth pair, although the first wasn't a pair but just a single aid in the worse ear.
Here's the thing. I have learned that hearing loss isn't just a volume thing but also a sensitivity thing. I will miss a lot of words even though they are at the same volume as the ones that I hear.
How you speak to someone with hearing loss is important. As long as the individual has hearing aids, your volume is likely to be sufficient for the most part, although if you are a very soft talker that may not be true for you. What is most helpful is separating your words. If a speaker enunciates clearly and leaves a little space between words, the impaired person is apt to catch almost all of what you say.
I find that hearing loss makes television a bit of a hit and miss sort of thing. I generally catch enough of the dialogue to keep the main thread, but I often miss little details. I then must decide if they seem important to the narrative. If I deem that they might be important, I am likely to ask Sue for clarification. I always feel a little better when she also misses something as it reveals that the flaw was in the production and not the receptor because she has very keen hearing.
When music is playing, the lyrics are pretty much a mystery to me. This is especially true of the more modern forms, which often rely heavily on the lyrics. That leaves me listening to the tune or melody, which is not strong in much modern music — in my opinion, of course.
I don't imagine that the tinnitus noises in my ears helps in the task of being able to discriminate words even though I may not be much aware of the noise when I am focusing on listening.
I hope this helps. Those of us with hearing loss aren't stupid although we can appear to be when speakers have to repeat things, and we, ourselves, certainly begin to feel both stupid and frustrated. The speaker can help greatly by enunciating clearly.
Addendum: As I was writing this, Sue came home, made toast, and climbed upstairs: all unbeknownst to me. Because I had just showered and was alone, I hadn't put my hearing aids back in and was totally unaware of her rambling about the house until she appeared in my doorway.
FYI: I will be absent from Blogdom for a few days.