“My audiologist’s patience and the care she gave me were outstanding. She was very reassuring and provided me with the guidance to help me through this. I feel like I have my life back. It’s such a blessing not to hear that roar in my ears anymore.”
Tinnitus treatment gives Kirby Miller his life back
Just two years ago, the simple pleasure of relaxing on a Sunday afternoon was nearly impossible for Kirby Miller. That’s because the 50-year-old Lone Jack, Mo., man was suffering with tinnitus, a common condition that affects approximately 50 million Americans.
Tinnitus is often caused by damage to the nerve cells within the inner ear, resulting in a sound that only the individual can hear. Some people describe tinnitus as a buzzing, ringing, white noise or a roaring sound. Miller says his tinnitus sounded like crickets— very loud crickets.
“Imagine hearing crickets non-stop, as long and as loud as you can stand it,” Miller says. “That’s what I heard all the time.” During the day, Miller tried playing the radio to drown out the noise, but that didn’t work. Nighttime was even worse. “I couldn’t sleep through the night. The chirping would wake me and I would have to get up and walk around. It was driving me crazy.”
Though he sought help from several health professionals, Miller couldn’t find relief. “Everyone I saw told me I just needed to learn to live with it,” he says. But Miller’s wife, Alinda, wouldn’t give up on finding an effective treatment. “She started doing research on the internet and found that Associated Audiologists specializes in treating tinnitus,” Miller explains. “I made an appointment to see them right away.”
During his evaluation, his audiologist discovered that not only did Miller have tinnitus, but he had a hearing loss. “I have been around loud noises all my life — tractors, guns and loud music — and I didn’t wear any hearing protection,” Miller says. “I’m sure that contributed to the problem.”
His audiologist recommended Miller try a special hearing aid from Widex featuring the ZEN Program, a unique sound therapy tool that has shown promise in the treatment of tinnitus. “I have to be honest,” Miller says, “at that point, I was skeptical that anything could help, but I agreed to give it a try.”
His audiologist explained how the hearing aids and the ZEN Program worked, and that it could take time before he would see an improvement in the tinnitus. “To me, the ZEN Program sounds like wind chimes. It’s not distracting. I could see a big improvement, even after just a couple of weeks,” Miller says.
Over the next several months, Miller adjusted to the sound therapy program and his new hearing aids. “The change didn’t happen overnight, but the tinnitus has improved significantly. Sleeping is no longer a problem.” And, thanks to the hearing aids, he’s enjoying sounds he hasn’t heard in years. “When I was hunting, I could hear the turkeys gobbling in the distance. It was amazing. Before, all I would have heard was the tinnitus.”
Miller credits his audiologist with his successful treatment. “Her patience and the care she gave me were outstanding,” he says. “She was very reassuring and provided me with the guidance to help me through this. I feel like I have my life back. It’s such a blessing not to hear that roar in my ears anymore.”