injured veteran with tinnitus
By: CEntrance Press Corps

By: CEntrance Press Corps

Headquarters

BlueDAC Comes to the Rescue of an Injured Vet: Hi-Fi Sounds Soothes Tinnitus

Customers love CEntrance products for all kinds of reasons—portability, sound quality, unique features, and compatibility with their favorite audio format or headphones—but we were especially surprised when the retired US Army serviceman Andrew Nar wrote to us explaining why he loves his BlueDAC.

Andrew had been seriously injured in Afghanistan, and one of his issues has been extreme tinnitus, a constant and irritating ringing in his ears. Having tried other audio playback devices that didn’t seem to help soothe his hearing problems, he eventually tried BlueDAC and was surprised that the audio quality from the CEntrance DAC actually made a difference in suppressing and covering up the ringing in his ears as he listens to various sounds and music.

Now this isn’t about a medical breakthrough or a prescription for what others may experience, but rather an exploration of Andrew’s experience finding the right products and his feelings about how BlueDAC helped him personally. We spoke on the phone and he told us his story…

Q:  Why did you decide to try the BlueDAC to help mask your hearing issues?

Well, to be honest, I needed something for Bluetooth, for it to be wireless. And that’s because there’s quite a few different devices I use normally: the TV, the cell phone, and a video game system. I have a four-year-old in the house, and we play games together. But regardless, I needed something wireless. And when I started to do some research and find wireless audio amplifiers, a lot of the stuff that was coming up was just either super expensive or it just looked like it wasn’t really a quality item. What led me to CEntrance and the BlueDAC was that I was looking up other alternatives after buying an inexpensive bluetooth amplifier. It worked but, obviously, the quality wasn’t there. So I started researching what would be able to take out all the dirty background stuff in the sound that I was hearing on this inexpensive device. That’s when I found CEntrance BlueDAC.

I ran across the BlueDAC when I was just reading some information, some press releases, while I was going through forum threads. So I went to the CEntrance website and read a little bit there, and then watched some videos of the folks who tried out BlueDAC and they praised it for the clarity and the quality of the sound. I decided to get in touch with Mr. Goodman (CEO of CEntrance) and see if he would be able to help me out.

Q: Now that you have the BlueDAC what advice could you give to others looking for a wireless headphone amplifier?

If you’ve been hesitant towards deciding on a product, if you’ve been looking at devices like the BlueDAC and comparing prices and statistics on paper, there’s nothing that’s going to prove to you that you should buy one device over another. I didn’t know what I was getting into until I plugged in a pair of headphones and I started using the device. It’s helped me. I use the BlueDAC every day. Whether it be a couple of hours during the day or whether it be at night for watching some TV, or trying to get myself to sleep. I suffer really badly with ringing in my ears. Tinnitus has plagued me for over six years. And I can honestly say that using BlueDAC with some of my input sources, especially the white noise, it’s just a night and day difference from my day-to-day suffering with tinnitus.

I just plug in the headphones for a little bit and am able to bring the tinnitus level back down. I’ve gotten good at lip reading over the past three years because sometimes the ringing is so bad that I can’t hear what people are trying to say to me. And being able to use this device, it kind of brings back a little bit of freedom because you don’t have to give yourself a headache to listen at a really extreme volume anymore. I think you could benefit from using BlueDAC in your daily life if you suffer from tinnitus. I am 100% for this device. And I believe that the BlueDAC is probably the best of its kind on the market, without a doubt!

Q:  So now that you have the BlueDAC, how do you use it? What made it the right choice?

I got a new phone close to the end of last year, an iPhone 8 Plus with the big screen. But I hadn’t realized they eliminated the headphone plug on the phone. I’m kind of a technical computer type person since I was injured overseas a few years ago, so I’m doing more stuff that’s less physically demanding. Being able to go through video tutorials for soldering circuitry, etc, is a lot easier when I can actually hear what they’re saying in the video tutorial, with the amount of tinnitus that I have. Throughout the day there isn’t an hour to two hours where I don’t have tinnitus ringing in my ears.

Being able to wirelessly amplify the audio source is basically a necessity to me at this point, because I can’t sit and watch TV without having to turn it up really loud. When I put on the headphones, I want to be able to avoid blasting the volume. The clarity of the sound was a big need for me. I tried other devices and it was just dirty noise. But then the BlueDAC pretty much answered what I was looking for because it’s a very, very clean source. And because of it being wireless, I’m able to use it with all the sources that I have. Including the new iPhone 8. I figured out a way to get into the TV to modify the factory settings to enable Bluetooth, which allows me to watch television with the headphones on. We have a one-storey house, I can be just about anywhere in the house and still have the audio from the television on BlueDAC.

The main thing, though, was at night because, obviously, the wife sleeps and my son sleeps. And I can’t keep blaring the volume of the TV. The wireless feature really, really improves my quality of life.

 

Q:  Tell me more about these sounds that help you mask some of the ringing from tinnitus.

Through the Veterans Hospital here in West Palm Beach, Florida, I was in touch with a few people. And most soldiers that go there, most former soldiers who have any types of injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries like myself, they all have the problem of tinnitus. And some guys, they have apprehension problems. Some guys, they have I guess you could say self control issues. So through a number of patient advocates and specialists at the hospital – whether it be psychiatrists, or another type of behavior modification doctor – they have sessions where they play ‘white noise’. [CEntrance: constant broadband noise that sounds like “shh”]. I’m not as big an audiophile as my father was, but a lot of the tones kind of influence calm. They help relax the mind. And some of the other tones, you could almost not even hear it with the naked ear, but they help drown out or quiet down the ringing from tinnitus. This is all from my experience, and I only have one application on my phone that I use for this, it was recommended from the VA.

The App plays sounds that pretty much mask the ringing and drowns it out pretty well. It’s a VA-specific app, it plays the white noise. But from other recommendations from the same folks, I started listening to the sounds of crackling fires. I started listening to running water and streams. I started listening to a jungle and different things like that, just having the noise in the background kind of quiets down the ringing in my ears.

Q:  So those different sounds that you mentioned, the jungle, and the crackling fire, and water, and different things like that, are they on the app that you got from the VA? I see that there is an app called “Calm” for any iPhone users, that app seem to have a lot of those sounds too.

The application I use is the CBT-i Coach. It’s a Veterans Administration application. So if you search the Veteran’s Administration in the app store, they have it on their list of apps. Through the application, you can kind of ‘explain your symptoms’ and what you’re looking to do, and then the audio is provided based on your inputs.


Epilogue:

For Andrew it seems that his balanced headphones with proper balanced cables allowed him to play audio at a lower volume while still masking the ringing in his ears from his extreme tinnitus, and the quality of the audio circuitry in the BlueDAC helped with this type of listening. Obviously having a Bluetooth connection for his headphones was a must for his many listening environments as well. We are happy that Andrew found a solution that works for him with our BlueDAC balanced Bluetooth headphone amp.

 

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