Part IV – Glasses For My Ears (or, I Hear Ya).

I arrived at the clinic early to fill out the required paperwork, and was called up right on time.  The audiologist was matter-of-fact when I told her about my hearing history; she was familiar with Meniere’s, which was a relief.  She tested my hearing in the booth, and when I emerged, confirmed the ‘cookie-bite’ diagnosis of my childhood. 

And this is the part where my life changed.  She said, “We have several treatment options for you.” 

I couldn’t believe it.  Really?  I told her what I had been told so long ago, that there was nothing they could do about it; she agreed that while that may have been the case 40 years ago, advances in technology have brought effective treatment for sensorineural hearing loss (nerve deafness).  She showed me a selection of hearing devices and explained how they worked.  They were not large and bulky and made of ugly beige plastic like my grandpa wore; these were small and compact with a nearly-invisible ear piece and wire.  They are not merely amplifiers; they are programmable to compensate for your personal hearing loss. 

My new best friend.
My new best friend.

She asked me if I’d like to try them.  She put them in my ears and programmed them to my test results, which makes adjustments almost completely unnecessary.  She told me that the change would be subtle, but that I would begin to notice sounds I never noticed before.  She made small talk with me as I wore them, even slyly stepping outside the door while talking.  I started to cry when I realized that I could hear and understand her even though she was out of the room and not facing me.  That was huge.  Huge!  

I walked out of her office fitted with a pair of hearing devices, marveling at the rustle of wind in the trees, the sounds of conversation nearby, and even the slight cough of a passerby.  I was in tears off and on the rest of that day and the next, a mixture of joy and relief and self-awareness; now, I’m not shouting — I’m being told I talk too softly.  Now, I can understand what people are saying to me.  Now, music sounds even better.  Hell — the whole world sounds better!

Hearing loss, and its associated social stigma, is a thief.  It robs you of communication with the world and the people you love and gives you isolation in return.  It negates your enthusiasm and replaces it with frustration and defeat.  It takes away your sense of self and security and puts dependency in their place.  Hearing loss often meant the slow, progressive death of your social life as you withdrew further and further.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With the help of two remarkable instruments, I am improving my social and psychological well-being.  So, I will be straightforward about it – I wear hearing devices.  They are so much more than hearing aids – they are like ‘glasses for my ears’.   

side view device
Can you tell?
closeup device
There it is.

That’s my story.  And it could be yours, too, if you have undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss.  Don’t wait a moment longer.  You’ll be amazed at what you’re missing.

 

 photo credit recordinghacks

 

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StuckonZero

StuckonZero

Aging like a fine wine. ;-)

11 thoughts on “Part IV – Glasses For My Ears (or, I Hear Ya).”

  1. And I am deliriously happy for you. This is a ‘good things come to those who wait’ kind of story. Kinda like a reward for having worked around and in spite of your hearing loss. So, so glad.

    1. Thank you! It has been a long time coming. My hearing is not perfect, even with help, but it is better in many ways already. The doctor said it would take a few weeks to get used to hearing these sounds again, and that my brain was craving them.
      Hard to describe, but to me, it’s like Dorothy going from Kansas to Munchkin Land — everything is vibrant and colorful now. 😉

  2. This excites me! I wonder if I could get something for my right ear. I wonder what I’m missing out on, things I don’t even realize.

    Going back to the vertigo though…have you found a “cure” for this? I get attacks every now and then and I’d love to hear what you’ve done to get yours under control. I’ve found that lack of sleep can bring one on, so I try to get at least 7 hours.

    1. Thanks! Glad you’re inspired! I think it would be a good idea to see an audiologist to see what is available to you. I would expect that Tricare would cover some/most/all of the associated expense. You won’t regret it.
      As far as the vertigo — really, nothing helped me. Sleep is the only thing that helped. Valium did help me relax and sleep, but that next-day grogginess and brain fog really stink. And I agree that being overtired or lacking sleep will trigger my wooziness. I tried a low-sodium diet back when I was first diagnosed, but I didn’t find it made any difference. Some folks swear by it, though. I am so thankful that I have not had vertigo in several years — it was a miserable time. I wish I could be assured that it will never return, but of course, I can’t.
      Of all the medical issues in my life, this MD thing is the scariest, because it strikes without warning. Sometimes I might get the fullness in the ear first, but most of the time, I didn’t. And it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing — once it hits, you are down for the count.
      Good luck — and you might check out some of the online groups that deal with hearing loss/vestibular disorders/Meniere’s. They have a lot of information for people like you and me, trying to find our way through.

  3. Amazing!! So happy for you!! Hearing all those sounds you haven’t heard for so long, and being able to hear your music again!! Yeah!! I am doing a happy dance in my heart for you!!

  4. Hey there, Cookie! that’s GREAT news! I read three of them and waited for your fourth to go up and what do you know… ! I am SOoo happy for you! I remembered the very first time I walked outside with my first glasses… the world was SO different and wonderful! So I can imagine some of your feelings as your world now opens up to you!
    Congrats on making this move. As you stated earlier, there’s a stigma attached to wearing hearing devices, and some people refuse to wear them if needed. I am glad you checked everything out and found out you could wear them now. They are indeed “glasses for your ears!” Love you, kiddo!

    Terry <3

    1. Thankee, ma’am! One of the things I hadn’t counted on — my brain gets a little tired from all the new input. It’s like going from a doctor’s waiting area into a subway station: the noise level — just the basic underlying white noise — is higher than I’m used to and it’s fatiguing. I suppose that will go away as I get used to things, but for now, it’s a bit disconcerting. And some of the sounds I hear, I have no idea what they are. Just the learning curve, I guess! Love you back! xoxoB

  5. Fantastic! Technology is an amazing thing isn’t it?
    They are barely noticeable and matched to your specific hearing needs.
    I am very happy for you!
    All the best,
    ~Cliff

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