Case Study: Randy, The Fighter Pilot With Tinnitus

The Fighter Pilot with Tinnitus

In this tinnitus interview, we will learn how Randy Spear, one of Treble Health’s patients, was able to reduce his tinnitus using various treatment protocols.

Dr. Ben Thompson talks with Randy about what he has learned about tinnitus across his tinnitus habituation journey

Randy’s Story

A former Air Force fighter pilot of nearly 30 years, Randy is now an airline pilot who had low-level tinnitus for roughly 15 years. In March 2022, this low-level sound grew in intensity to a level of 8/10, manifesting as a high-pitched ringing across both ears. Following this, Randy took a hearing test and learned that he had severe hearing loss in the upper frequency range. He didn’t suffer from any hyperacusis or sound sensitivities, but did struggle with sleeping through the night in the wake of developing his tinnitus. Randy sought counsel from his doctor, who was only able to prescribe him Zoloft and Ambien to help him sleep better. During this initial onset of severe tinnitus, Randy also struggled with anxiety and negative thinking. After two weeks, Randy stumbled upon a Treble Health video on YouTube. Shortly thereafter he joined us and began treatment.

The First Two Months Of Therapy

During the first two months of treatment with Treble Health, Randy worked hard to be mindful of negative thinking and reoriented his goals towards tinnitus relief rather than complete silence. After experimenting with different kinds of sound therapy and using various devices, he ultimately found that he could achieve restful sleep by using a Bluetooth-compatible sleep headband to play a type of white noise specific to his tinnitus frequency range. As a result, Randy was able to switch to a milder sleep medication. He also used ear-level tinnitus maskers, which are hearing aids programmed specifically for tinnitus treatment. After only two months, Randy’s daily life was almost back to normal, and his sleep quality had improved to a level of 90%.

Randy’s Tinnitus Success Story

Randy has learned a lot about his tinnitus over the course of his treatment journey with Treble Health.  

  1. He discovered that using hearing aids and listening to sound therapy significantly reduced the volume of his tinnitus. For instance, he finds that his tinnitus volume goes down from an 8 to a 5 whenever he uses sound therapy.
  2. He realized that sound therapy helps him sleep at night and consequently had his hearing aids programmed to play sound therapy in a frequency range that properly mixes with his tinnitus.
  3. He now uses a Bluetooth-compatible sleep headband for optimal relief and comfort while sleeping.
  4. He learned how to reframe negative thought patterns and to focus less on achieving a state of complete silence. 

The Value Of Tinnitus Sound Therapy

Randy plans to continue following his tinnitus therapy protocol and looks forward to further tinnitus habituation. As part of his treatment plan with Treble Health, Randy is working towards a long term goal of getting off his current sleep medication, and ultimately returning to the cockpit to fly again.

Randy recommends seeking out an audiologist with tinnitus treatment experience who can properly empathize with your struggles and recommend the right technology for tinnitus masking. He also recommends spending time to find a sound therapy type that mixes well with your tinnitus and works across a variety of environments. 

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