Walt Tarpley’s Tinnitus Journey
“I talked to several audiologists. Not one of them had any good advice for me. They told me I could spend tens of thousands of dollars and still get no results. It wasn’t a good situation.”
As a young man, Walt Tarpley had been exposed to a very loud working environment – noise levels of around 104dB – for 10 years. In addition, he had been near some gunfire and had ear infections as a child.
He didn’t think much about it until he hit 50. Then he received the birthday gift that wouldn’t go away. Tarpley, a resident of Aurora, Colo., suddenly found himself with a brand new companion – a constant ringing in the ears that just didn’t quit. He couldn’t sleep well; he was fatigued and his slight hearing loss compounded the situation.
“I talked to several audiologists,” says Tarpley. “Not one of them had any good advice for me. They told me I could spend tens of thousands of dollars and still get no results. It wasn’t a good situation.”
The Internet served as a resource as Tarpley began searching through web pages for all types of products and medicines promising tinnitus cures. He says he found plenty of “snake oil” treatments that promised to cure the tinnitus. He also found plenty of audiologists, medical device manufacturers and other physicians who promised nothing and offered much less hope for any relief.
While he initially resigned himself to living with the constant ringing, he couldn’t live with the hearing loss. So he pursued hearing aids to help him communicate better at work and with his family.
Through a referral, he came across Sarah Smith, Au.D., an audiologist in Colorado who now serves as regional clinical sales manager for Neuromonics. As she helped him with his hearing loss, she also began working to reduce the effects of his tinnitus. She told him about the Neuromonics Oasis and emphasized that while the device and treatment weren’t a cure, they could help him.
“I was ready to try anything,” says Tarpley.
Smith worked with Tarpley twice a week in her office for six months. They tackled his hearing loss first and then moved on to the Neuromonics products.
“The secret to my success is that I used the Oasis as recommended and dealt with my hearing loss as well,” says Tarpley. “Many people have both hearing loss and tinnitus, so you really have to deal with all the components.”
Tarpley’s quality of life has improved tremendously with the use of the Neuromonics Oasis. When he first saw Smith, he was an “emotional wreck.” as he describes it. The Oasis allowed him to resume a normal life without the runaway emotions that overloaded him.
“There are days, weeks, sometimes even a month that I hardly even notice I have tinnitus,” he says. When the tinnitus symptoms come back and are annoying enough, he explains, he wears his Oasis for a short period. Currently, Tarpley needs the Oasis only four-six hours per month – vs. the four or more hours per day initially. “Now, with the Oasis, my brain gets reset and I’m good to go again.”