Getting LDLs Under Control
To whom it may concern,
The onset of sound sensitivity began in September 2014 following exposure to a loud engine noise at an air show. After the show, I had sound sensitivity (more in my right ear than left ear) and slight tinnitus in my right hear. I felt fullness in my right ear and continued to feel fullness after exposure to louder sounds such as movies, restaurants, dishes clanking, glass hitting, etc. I wore hearing protection devices on a daily basis until December of 2014, which seemed to make the sensitivity worse. It then became more difficult to be around normal every day sounds such as a printer, stapler, normal office sounds, an ice maker and dogs barking. I continued to retreat from sounds as much as possible, making it tough to enjoy everyday life.
In June 2015, I met with Dr. Shields for a consultation as part of the Tinnitus and Hyperacusis program. I was diagnosed with loudness discomfort levels (LDLs) at 70dB in my left ear and 65 dB in my right ear. At that point, my severity, distress, and effect of sound sensitivity on a scale of 1-10 were approximately 7-8. Dr. Shields provided information about the role of emotions as they relate to sound, introducing level, neutral background noise into my environment to desensitize my auditory system, and I was provided a list of free Apps that I could download to assist with this. Lastly, I was introduced to sound generators and what role they could be used for. Approximately a month later, I moved forward with sound generators.
After approximately a year of wearing the sound generators for 8+ hours a day and playing neutral low level noise in the presence of bothersome sounds, I went in for a follow up appointment and my LDLs were within normal limits of 85-95dB in both ears. I am less anxious when around loud noise and I am going out to restaurants and into other environments with minimal modifications. There are certain noises (foil, soda cans opening, dishes clanking) that still cause slight anxiety and discomfort, but I am gradually exposing myself in controlled environments to these bothersome sounds. I am also starting to wear my sound generators less on a daily basis. Through a lot of prayer, patience, support (especially from my wife) and persistence, my ears have and are continuing to be healed.