Thursday, April 28, 2011

I can't hear you

I've always had problems with my ears. I had chronic ear infections when I was little. I have wax buildup that I had to get tubes in my ears twice to get rid of it. Because of all that, I didn't start speaking until I was 3 years old because I couldn't hear very well. Then when I did start speaking no one could understand me because my speech was so messed up.

Anyway years of speech therapy later and two ear surgeries later I've been okay. I still get ear infections from time to time though, and once in a while I'll get a ear wax buildup. Also from my surgeries I have pretty significant scar tissue in my left ear. I've always known that.

I've also always known that I need to pay special attention to my ears. It's not something I mess around with. Ever. When I was in college I had to have a hearing test for my major. Which I ended up switching anyway. The hearing test came back and showed that I had some hearing loss in my right ear after a certain amount of hertz/decibels. I was really upset when I found that out, but they assured me that I was fine and I didn't need to do anything for it.

Fast forward to today. I had to see an ENT because my right ear felt like it had cotton inside. A sure sign that I had a wax buildup. This was the first time for me seeing this particular doctor. My old one no longer took my insurance. Anyway he removed my wax (which, TMI, was HUGE. Like the size of the end of a q-tip. YUCK) and then he did a hearing test since I had never been there.

Well I knew something was wrong when he kept of retesting my right ear. Turns out I have pretty severe hearing loss in my right ear. Like he was shocked by it. I can hear normal everyday sounds, but when I get into loud places or when there is a lot of noise happening I cannot hear. He has asked me if something traumatic happened to my ear that may have caused the loss. Like a fire cracker going off right next to my ear. Nothing like that has ever happened to me (that I remember anyway) so he thinks it must of been during one of the many times I was sick. A virus must of caused the hearing loss. Or I could have been born this way. (anyone have lady gaga stuck in their ear now? lol)

The fact that I never really realized the hearing loss means that I've been dealing with it for years and have just adapted myself to it. Like for instance, I always tilt my right eat forward when talking to people. He told me that if it was a normal hearing person who had lost as much hearing as I have overnight, they wouldn't be able to deal with it. There would be a significant difference.

I am really upset over this. I've known for a while that I had some kind of hearing loss, but having it really explained to me like that scared the crap out of me. I don't want to lose my hearing. It's always been a fear of mine. I don't know what I would do, not being able to listen to music or watch a movie without sound. Or even just hearing waves crash at the beach.

He wants to see why caused the hearing loss. So I now have to go for a contrast MRI of my head. I hate hate IVs so I'm upset that I have to get the MRI done. But it'll be good to know if he can find out exactly what happened. And maybe prevent it from happening to my other ear.

For now I have to keep a closer watch on my ears. Yearly checkups and if I get another ear infection seeing the Dr immediately.

I just wish I wasn't so upset about this whole thing. I've been crying about it all morning. I need to perk up and just focus on making sure it doesn't get worse.


Karen said...

Oh...Sorry to hear this. (no pun intended) I bet the MRI will show that nothing is wrong. It likely happened when you were young. I know it must be scary.

erin - heart in ireland said...

:( I'm sorry, this must be really hard news to get.
But at least you've adapted to it and you don't let it impact you, but being hold must have been scary. good luck with the mri.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm so sorry to hear this.
Perhaps an MRI will show that it can be reversed.
I fear mine is old age.
I have been afraid to go to a hearing specialist but TV has begun to be difficult for me. Certain tones. Sucks to get old - does Katie Couric have these issues?