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1 day ago · Hearing Loss: Come introduce yourself and connect with others in Hearing Loss

Katyrae83: This is really, really important! I fear that your daughter has Meniere's Disease, although she is young to be have serious problems with it. YES–hormone levels can be a huge trigger for those with Meniere's. I've probably had Meniere's since I was quite young, but it wasn't diagnosed until I quit taking birth control pills (I.e., hormones) in my early 40s. I had had earlier episodes of classic Meniere's crisis at various times when I hadn't been taking hormones, but it had never been diagnosed. Soon after I quit taking hormones, I began to have crises within a day of the initial day of each period, and they grew worse and worse every month for eight, until I was on the floor, lying in a pool of vomit beneath the toilet–not a pretty sight at all! My primary doc, who often fished with me, feared the worst, prescribed strong birth control pills for three months as a trial. After the first month, I had no problems. At that point, Meniere's was primarily a balance/vertigo problem with hearing secondary. Due to my age (40s) it was believed that I could not take hormones, so my doc and I tried various supposedly "safe" HRT (hormone replacement therapy) over the next 3½ years, none of which prevented the 12-15 hour bouts of severe vertigo with continual vomiting. Great weight loss program, as I went from my normal 120 down to less than 90 at one point. At that time, the Meniere's was unilateral, i.e., only in my right ear, and I lost all useful hearing in that ear over a period of about six months.

Good news is that we also occasionally fished with an OB/Gyn from Houston, part of a huge practice. You are fortunate in that HRT is viewed in a much better light in Texas than it is in Oregon. That doc "ordered" me to go to my primary and demand a properly-balanced form of much stronger HRT. Fortunately, my primary doc agreed. Within a month, I quit having crises (had been having them as often as 3X a week). I was designing and editing a book about Meniere's Disease for VEDA (Vestibular Disorders Assn.) at the time, and the editor, also a "vestib," sent me instructions on how to do VRT (vestibular rehab) via e-mail. I was soon wading rivers, climbing ladders, hiking, leading a normal life. That was over 30 years ago, and I still do VRT every day. Over time, my so-called "good" ear had increasing age-related deafness, but I was able to get by with a combo of lip reading and guessing.

I started to go bilateral five years ago, but only began to have serious problems last May. This time, perhaps partly due to the daily VRT, the big problem is hearing. With Meniere's, it's not that you can't hear at all but that you hear far less during bad days and what you do hear is so distorted that you cannot understand words. You can see and even hear sound from someone speaking, but what they're saying is a total mystery. The business of fluctuation (good days vs. bad days), distortion, recruitment, and tinnitus ensure that you feel totally crazy sometimes, as well as royally frustrated because you can't understand now when you could a couple of hours ago. I now have constant tinnitus in both ears, different noise in each. I can't hear environmental sounds around me, like whether or not I've already turned the car on. I used to be a musician, but gave that up over 30 years ago, due to recruitment (where loud, sharp sounds simply slice through your head in a very painful way) and my inability to hear other instruments well enough to perform in an ensemble or orchestra.

THE way to get a hearing problem diagnosed is to go to a neurotologist. ENTs simply don't have the training. The one I saw early on simply patted my hand and said, "Now, now, dearie, just quit your silly job, stay home in bed, and take Valium." My "silly job" was sole support of my family at the time, with one kid in college, so that wasn't an option, even if I had considered his great advice for even one minute. The "dearie" meant I wanted to slap him upside the head! FWIW, valium and other drugs did zip to conquer the vertigo for me, only made the situation worse.

I'm certainly not a doc, but have studied Meniere's for almost 40 years. Although I immediately noticed that a large percentage of those who sought help from VEDA when I first found that organization were women in their 40s, most docs refuse to believe that there's a connection between hormones and bad days. Many of us with Meniere's believe that it actually is NOT a single disease but a collection of hard-to-diagnose diseases with different "triggers" that cause especial misery. The reason that your daughter had an MRI is because the one sure thing to omit is the possibility of an acoustic neuroma–the MRI proved that one is not present.

Please don't do anything that can't be reversed, like a CI, until you've learned what's actually wrong. I strongly suspect Meniere's, which is a very grim diagnosis because there is no cure, just ways to learn to live with it. Try to understand and be patient when she has bad days. Trust me, she's having a far worse time than you are! For example, my daughter and son-in-law came here for Christmas Eve and again early Christmas Day. It was a special time that I had looked forward to, but, unfortunately, I was having a really bad day and was relegated to sitting in the living room watching my husband, daughter, and son-in-law converse. Then, later that evening, some hearing returned. The next morning, I could hear somewhat (not a really good day but much better), so I was able to enjoy her visit for a couple of hours. However, later that day I had a mild vertigo crisis, meaning that my husband had leftovers for Christmas dinner and I spent the evening clutching a trash bag. Learning how to vomit in public in a "ladylike" manner is just one of the challenges!

You may contact me directly at through a private message. Good luck!

4 days ago · How do I chose the right Hearing Aids for hearing loss & tinnitus? in Hearing Loss

Answering btpanda: My right ear was lost to Meniere's over 35 years ago, was not aidable due to lack of hearing, distortion, and recruitment (the last two "special" features of Meniere's). My left ear had increasing age-related deafness, but I had gotten by with speech reading and guessing until my left ear went bilateral, starting months ago, but becoming completely involved with distortion and recruitment last May. I've worn an aid in my left ear for about a year and a half. Meniere's also has a fun little feature where it fluctuates from hour to hour, so one day I can puzzle things out fairly well, but the next day (or hour) I hear sound but it's horribly distorted. For example, earlier today my husband was watching a discussion show on TV and it went to commercial–and the muffled whispery sounds of the voices were exactly the same as the music of the commercial. On a really good day, in a sound booth, I was able to puzzle out 55% of the simple sentences spoken by the one speaker, but (a) it was a really good day, and (b) there were no distractions, and (c) the sentences were easy to figure out, like "it's time for lunch." No numbers or names or technical terms…totally unreal. Today, a client called to ask me to make changes on a sales sheet, but I couldn't make out much at all, so handed the phone off to my husband, who used to work for the client. Unfortunately, he's not at all pleased at having to translate for me, so only gave me a very general idea of what was wanted. AARGH! Imagine the phone issuing sound that has no discernable words! I have a terrible time during technical meetings, even on good days. On bad days, the whole thing's a mystery. I've not found that people are very patient with being asked to repeat or understanding at all. One technical team that I meet with at least once a month agreed, when I flat demanded, to move the "O" setup of tables much closer together as there are only a dozen or so people in attendance…but the first of this month I met total resistance and refusal to allow the tables to be moved. Really hard, as it's three hours of intense discussion of tech stuff.

Before Meniere's became a big problem 35 years ago, I was an amateur musician, but I had to quit playing, both because the sound around me was downright painful (recruitment) and because I couldn't hear well enough to be part of an ensemble or orchestra. Now, I can't listen to music at all as it's too distorted, even on good days. On bad days, it's just more environmental noise in the background…could be a fan running, or the dishwasher, or a sonata. All the same to me! Environmental sounds are another problem, as I don't know where sound is coming from and can't ID what's making it. It's often much like the eternal tinnitus I have on both sides, just a lot of annoying senseless noise.

Most days, I'd qualify for a CI, but I'm not sure it wouldn't just bring in more confusion, that it would somehow end the distortion.

6 days ago · Hospital hearing aid battery policy in Hearing Loss

I keep a card with 8 batteries (or whatever's left of the 8) in my wallet. You never know when you'll be away from home and your batteries will decide to quit. I buy batteries at Costco, where six cards of 8 each (48 total) cost $8.99, a HUGE saving from drugstore cost.

Dec 30, 2019 · Microphones for friends in noisy spaces in Hearing Loss

To Ethan, moderator: I've not found any other mics designed or sold to work with my aid, which is a Costco Bernefon (i.e., Oticon). I've given up watching TV, as we only can get it via Charter, and they do not provide captions. For a little while, there were captions on one channel, but that ceased a couple of weeks ago. It only showed old programs so isn't a huge loss. I do watch MS-NBC because it does have some explanation and ID of speakers–not actual captions, but some clues to help me guess about what's being said. My total frustration is groups around tables, both for "fun" and for technical discussions about fish and water due to a pilot project in our rural coastal county that will determine how water is allocated throughout Oregon in the future. Sometimes I can "get" part of discussions during small groups, but when the entire partnership meets (100 or more), it's four hours of understanding nothing, usually in a room that's not good for listening (hard surfaces, poor quality mics). This is a rural area, so I've yet to find a place that offers an induction loop. That makes a good mic even more important!

Dec 29, 2019 · Microphones for friends in noisy spaces in Hearing Loss

I've been shopping for a dual mic setup for a lecture group, and there's a HUGE selection of mics for all sorts of applications. A decent wireless system with two mics, for example, is around $500. Shoot–I paid $200 for a tiny lapel mic (only thing available) to pair with my aid. It works only if it's very close to the speaker, not at all for groups. Xmas Eve, I sat clueless while my daughter, son-in-law, and hubby talked, all of us within a few feet of each other. I caught occasional words, but not the actual conversation. Frustrating! Yet, there are great mics for all sorts of situations–except ones that work with aids. Why should we be expected to pay more and get far less than the hearing world? It's time for us to ask for better mics for more reasonable prices.

Dec 24, 2019 · How do I chose the right Hearing Aids for hearing loss & tinnitus? in Hearing Loss

Since tinnitus is nature's way of filling the void of silence, it makes sense that providing sound with an aid or aids would reduce the tinnitus. Tinnitus has been part of my life for nearly 40 years, so I can go for hours without actually noticing it–if my aid is in. I do still notice tinnitus at night, which is, of course, without the aid. Even the screaming tinnitus that moved in when I went bilateral is not an actual problem with the aid in. Perhaps Mother Nature takes a rest when we have aid(s) in, providing something to fill the silent void.

Dec 21, 2019 · Using a Bi-Cros for Single-Sided Deafness (SSD), and Domino Pro Info in Hearing Loss

I know someone who flew through a windshield when he was only months old and had not heard from that ear all his life. He had a CI several years ago in his late 50s (i.e., he hadn't heard anything with that ear for almost 60 years). As soon as they turned the CI on, he was able to hear and understand some things. It was only a short time until he was hearing well with the damaged ear and CI.
I also know a lady who had suffered from age-related deafness for around 20 years, then had a stroke which left her functionally deaf. At age 76 she had a CI implanted. Her husband learned almost immediately that she could hear well enough to know how much he lost at poker and that he, OMG, cursed!
I believe it's like someone in their 40s having a hard time learning to use bifocals: there isn't a huge improvement involved, so the glasses are annoying rather than a small miracle. The more you have to gain, the more you're likely to benefit from any enhancement.
From the time I was 15, I was so near-sighted that I was close to legally blind. Over 10 years ago, I had cataract surgery and, initially, 20/20 vision for the first time in my life. Although my vision wound up being 20/40 and 20/60, that's far better than the correction I had been able to obtain from glasses from age 15-65, and every day I'm still thankful and amazed at the things that I can see. My sister has always had great vision, never wore glasses except for reading glasses starting in her 50s. She had cataract surgery and complains about one problem after another. It's all relative.

Dec 20, 2019 · Anyone experience rapid progressive hearing loss in one ear? in Hearing Loss

This is only a way to treat one of the symptoms, but it IS important. Combat balance issues by actively working on balance a few minutes EVERY DAY. Start by standing with your feet fairly close together, eyes closed. At first, you'll begin to "wobble" quite soon, but you should be able to be stable for a minute or so with practice. Then, walk a short safe distance with your eyes closed. While you're doing that, think about what your feet tell you, because they know a great deal more than you'd expect. You can walk in your house at night with all the lights out (there will be a little ambient light), instead of walking with eyes closed. You can also walk outside in low light situations (no street lights, for example); this is especially helpful if uneven surfaces are involved. If you walk without using vision for even a few minutes every day, you'll see a big improvement in balance and eye-hand coordination within a month or less. You can also practice dressing while standing next to a counter or table without touching the counter or table. Putting on your socks is especially good to learn better balance. What you are doing is avoiding using your second balance system (vision), replacing it with proprioception (the info offered by your feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc.). It's natural to use vision when your primary inner ear balance system isn't working well, but every time you move your head your focal point changes and you're disoriented–imbalanced. I know this sounds too simple to work, but, trust me, it really, really does work.