Literally at a loss

ejmpgh

New Member
On July 7th 2006, three days after my 60th birthday, I was working in my yard tugging at sod when I “heard” (or maybe felt) a slight “pop” in my left ear. I thought that maybe a bug or leaf had fallen into my ear from tree overhead, and went inside to the bathroom to get a cotton swab to clean it out. I heard nothing but silence from my left ear and actually heard the sound of the swab at work from my RIGHT ear.
I then went to the telephone. Left ear - complete silence. Right ear - a dial tone.

I knew that something serious had happened and immediately called my primary care physician. I was seen by her, and had an exam and hearing test done by a ENT specialist within 48 hours of the event. Meniere’s disease was ruled out, as were blocked estuation tubes, and earwax.

The diagnosis was idiopathic unilateral profound hearing loss. (Idiopathic- “arising from itself” in Greek or Latin as in “we don’t know what the hell happened to you but we have to call it something). I underwent steroid treatment (twice) with no improvement whatsoever. They said that the problem was most probably vascular in nature - possibly a "mini-stroke" that wiped out the hair cells in my cochlea in a matter of seconds.

After over a year with this condition, I could probably accept the deafness and get on with my life.

But, unfortunately, the most devastating result of my hearing loss was the onset of severe tinnitus that replaced the normal hearing from my deaf ear soon after the trauma- (Within 3 or 4 days). The audiologist said, “That’s from the damage”. The only way that I can describe it is to compare the so called “sound” that I perceive to what you would hear if you held your ears closely to an old television with its volume turned off that operated with tubes rather than transistors. The sound is a persistent extremely high pitched ping that might only be duplicated by a Moog synthesizer. The nosier the environment, the louder the tinnitus gets and it actually competes with the hearing from my right ear.

I went to a funeral home recently to offer my condolences to the widowed mother of a good friend of mine. When we tried to converse with her, I could not understand her even though I was standing right in front of her because of the background noise.
For a moment, I envied her husband lying in his casket.

I would rather have lost an eye.

The only treatment option that I was offered was a CROSS hearing aid system, purchased at my own expense, that would allow me to hear sounds coming from my left side in my right ear. Since this will not eliminate or even slightly reduce the tinnitus, I think that having hearing devices in both ears with no real relief would only physically draw attention from others. MY LOUSY HMO will NOT cover ANY hearing related medical expenses including CROSS or BAHA hearing systems, or a Coclear implants.

Quite frankly, my life is ruined.

I have trouble functioning in noisy environments. When I attend church service, for, instance, I have to insert an ear plug into my good ear to reduce the loudness from the choir and the organ so that the tinnitus does not overpower what I hear I remove the plug so I can hear the pastor’s sermon and the rest of the spoken service.

One of the greatest joys in my life was to critically listen to music (not just as background music, but neo-classical and new age artists whose songs showcased both their mastery of their instruments or voices and their ability to reveal their soul through their compositions). I can’t listen to music or even attempt to enjoy my home theater anymore because the tinnitus overpowers the audio and makes understanding spoken dialog nearly impossible. (I must resort to headphones with a stereo to monaural adapter to channel both tracks into my right ear). I cannot enjoy dining out; (in goes the old earplug again!)

Conversations with my wife when in a car (unless I am driving) is a nerve wracking chore. My full time job is no picnic either. I am a Stationary Engineer by profession, and rely heavily on my ability to discern unusual noises in equipment rooms to detect problems with the mechanical equipment that I operate and maintain. The inability to detect from what direction a sound is coming from is a severe handicap.

At the end of each day, the only relief I get is when I finally go to bed, bury my good ear into a down pillow and eventually fall asleep. The next morning when I awake, there is little tinnitus until I rise and start getting ready for work. Then the torture begins all over again.

I got a new issue of Consumer Reports on Health in the mail today. One of the articles in it shows a relationship between sudden hearing loss and an increased probability of a stroke within 5 years
(Yes, I mentioned the probable cause was “vascular” in nature, didn’t I?) The article states that people with sudden hearing loss have about a 13 percent chance of having a stroke compared to just 8 percent for the rest of the population.

I really don’t know how to end this intro. I know that I am venting my frustration. But maybe someone using this forum is dealing with the same situation. Unless you personally must deal with this condition, there is no way to describe in words the misery and despair that has snuffed out any ability to enjoy the rest of your life.

I survived a pulmonary embolism back in 2003, (I’m lucky to be alive, they say. It went right through my heart and into both lungs! They had to use a medical “drain cleaner” to dissolve the damn thing. Spent a week in the ICU.)
Dealing day to day with this hearing loss bulls—t, I really don’t feel so lucky anymore.

Ed Malarkey, Lower Burrell, PA

P.S. I think that MEDICARE will cover costs for a BAHA system WOW, I can't wait for my 65th birthday!
 

CrzyMeg

New Member
Yay and
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RedFox

New Member
Sorry that your ear ringing is bothering you. :( I get ear ringing sometimes too even if I've been deaf in both ears all my life. My landlord says someone next door has a motorcycle revving sometimes. At least I'll move in a week.

Welcome to Alldeaf. :grouphug:
 

Bottesini

Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
Welcome to AD. I know there are several people here with your problem. I hope they can help you with tips. If you search the site I am sure there are already discussions.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
:welcome: to AD. I am sorry u are feeling this way. I have been deaf all of my life so I cant imagine what it is like to experience what u must be going thru. There are others here on AD who have lost their hearing as adults.
 

Anij

Well-Known Member
Welcome to AD - I was born with profound uni loss (now I have profound +120db right, and mild/mod flux left) ... and I have tinnitus which I'm able to manage via a few different strategies

feel free to PM me if you'd like to chat ... I might be able to help offer some practical suggestions, or at the least a bit of support.
 

~SG~

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Welcome to AllDeaf! :)

Anij, he will need to make 50 posts then he will able to PM you. :)
 

Bebonang

Active Member
:welcome: to AllDeaf forum. Hi, I am 62 years old and have been Deaf all my life like all the other ADers. I know that you are having difficult trying to adjust or adapt to your deafness or losing your hearing which there is no cure. There is nothing you can do about it. I hope you enjoy reading and posting all the threads here. Have fun with us. See you around. :wave:
 
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