My mom’s hearing, or lack thereof, was legendary. I’m not sure when her hearing started to diminish, but by the time she was in her 70’s, dinner conversations approached sitcom level, with mom jumping into conversations based on a misheard word, and then going off on a totally unrelated tangent. The one where she mistook the word “woozy” for “floozy” was particularly memorable.
At the beginning of May, I came down with the same summer cold that seems to have afflicted many of you. My sinuses were stuffed up, and then one evening my left ear just closed. That’s the only way I can describe it – it felt like it slammed shut. One minute I could hear out of it, and the next I couldn’t. When I talked, I could barely hear myself – felt like I was 100 feet under water.
With rest, antibiotics and a trip to the beach, the cold finally went away, but my ear continued to be stuffed up. Some days were better than others, but I could not hear people at work, I missed two-thirds of what was being said at our guild meeting, and I became terribly self-conscious about always having to ask people to repeat themselves or speak up. I even started to wonder if some of my co-workers weren’t speaking extra softly just to get my goat. Hubby suggested a visit to his ENT.
The ENT visit was yesterday. Who knew that I had a badly deviated septum that was almost totally blocking my left sinus passages and Eustachian tube? The blockage had kept that tube from draining, so my left middle ear canal was swollen shut. Dr. Nose put me on a reducing daily dosage pack of steroids to reduce the inflammation and wants to see me in a couple of weeks to chat about septum surgery. After a day of drugs, I do notice a slight difference in my ear and a really big difference in my stiff knees. The thought of septum surgery, though, is keeping me awake at night.
Wait, there’s more!
While I was there, he suggested a hearing test. The one with the trained audiologist, the sound proof booth and the big headphones. I failed. Boy did I fail. I have turned into my mother. According to the tests, I have roughly a 50% loss of hearing in BOTH ears. Apparently my hearing has been going for quite a while, but the clogged ear thing brought everything to a head (no pun intended). That’s hearing aid territory, folks. What’s next, a Seeing Eye dog?
So in 2 weeks I also have an appointment with the Hearing Well Center, where we will talk about my options – the options being expensive hearing aids, wildly colored hearing aids, barely visible hearing aids or big-ass ear trumpets. If any of you have experiences along these lines, please feel free to share – I’m in uncharted waters here and need all the advice I can get. In the mean time, can you just speak up? Eh?