Denying Hearing Loss - It all makes sense now
Hi, just recently joined, and I like reading the posts here. I just wanted to talk about what’s happened with me, because I haven’t ever put it all down at once before, and figured this is a good place as any to do it.
I’m pretty sure my hearing loss started about ten years ago, but I didn’t realize what it was. If someone was facing away from me, or behind me, what they’d say frequently would end up a little garbled. My brain would try to fill in the gaps, sometimes to hilarious results. We thought it was just because I have a good imagination, and that’s where the weird stuff came from, so it was a joke, even though it slowly got worse. I thought the TV was unclear, so I used captions. Couldn’t hear on the phone, so it must be the phone. I flat couldn’t think of the possibility that my hearing had something to do with it.
A few months ago, I got a bad cold, which lead to an ear infection, which got so bad, my right eardrum burst, leaving me with no hearing on that side, as well as incredible tinnitus on that side, too. I was assured my hearing would come back, and it did, a tiny bit – everything sounded like I was at the bottom of a really deep well. It immediately started interfering with my life. I nearly got hit by a car I hadn’t heard while walking to my kid’s school, and I couldn’t hear the other parents clearly, so I had my husband do the pick ups and drop offs. Things echoed and blared in public, so I avoided that, too. My temper’s been lousy, and it seemed like my 7 year old and 3 year old daughter, who has a very slight speech delay, wasn’t even trying to talk clearly anymore, because everything she says was garbled.
It took a month and three different antibiotics to clear up the ear infection. When the hearing didn’t come back, and my eardrum was healed, my PCP sent me to an ENT, who blamed allergies. When it didn’t clear up after starting new medicine for that, she thought I just had stubborn fluid in the middle ear, and ear tubes would help. She sent me to an audiologist to get confirmation on that – but what they found was hearing loss in both ears, but worse in the right, and recommended hearing aids.
I’ve been reading up on hearing loss, and now I realize I’ve been struggling with it for ten years or more, the eardrum rupture just accelerated it. It’s been affecting my day-to-day life, but I never realized what the cause was. I’m starting the process of getting fitted for hearing aids this afternoon. I know that this isn’t going to suddenly fix my ears, make them like new, but anything’s got to be better than this. My moods have been getting better now that I know what’s going on, and that I can take steps to do something about it.
The one main problem I can’t seem to handle is the tinnitus. The doctors keep saying they can’t do anything for it, I just have to deal with it. The audiologist said it might be less noticeable once I’ve got the hearing aids, but also sounded like past that, no one can do anything for it. My dad, who’s got tinnitus, also got told the same thing. But the things I’m reading say there are options. Who’s right?