am I deaf? dealing with temporary hearing loss

I feel like before I start, I need to sigh really loudly. Last Summer in September, the month I really started blogging, I woke up with hearing loss. I don’t think it was instant. From what I remember my hearing gradually got worse. I was up at a cottage with friends and family enjoying a weekend on the lake with the sunshine, bonfire and overall good company. We were staying at my sister’s mother in laws place for the night, since it was right by Casino Rama. We were all together to continue the bachelorette shenanigans after the wedding. My sister bought concert tickets for her bridal party, our mom, her mother in law and for me; her MC. The morning after, I was struggling to hear people talking.

Just around this time, I was switching family doctors to one closer to my home. I went in to meet with my new general practitioner and for a check up as a new patient. During my new patient visit, I told her I had a couple things I wanted her to know about – one of them, my hearing. At first she didn’t clue in how severe it was until we were conversing across the small examination room and I had to say, “No, seriously, I can barely hear you.” I really don’t think she thought it was as bad as it was at the time. She told me to book another appointment so she could look into this a bit more. So I did, about three weeks later I had my second appointment with her. This time she did a couple things in the examination room to get a better sense of my hearing. Finally she asked, have you booked a hearing test? Well no. I didn’t because I don’t know how the process works. I’m 23, hearing loss isn’t something many people that are around me and my age suffer from.

I called the hearing clinic, told them I wanted to book a hearing test and the receptionist told me it would be about a month. She then asked, may I ask why you need a hearing test? Was it a regular check-up? Did I need it for work? or was I just curious about how well my hearing was? I told her no, my family doctor has asked me to book an appointment because I have had pretty sudden hearing loss in both ears. This changed her tone. She then said, well how about we get you in sooner? I was then booked in three weeks earlier than she had previously offered.

I went in and met with the audiologist. Super nice dude, very welcoming and thorough at explaining what the f*ck is going on. He knew basically right away that I had fluid in my inner ear. This is behind the ear drum. And guess what? It’s pretty common he said. He said for some it was a seasonal thing. What he told me next was kind of shitty. I asked, so what can I do help this? He said there was nothing I could do to help this. So now, I needed to go back to my family doctor and discuss the results with her.

About three more weeks pass until I get into see my family doctor. We look at the results and she basically reiterates what the audiologist has told me.  There isn’t much they can do, typically the fluid goes away on its own without any complications. Alright, so that was annoying. I still wanted to do whatever I could to try and help my hearing loss. After all, I was starting to get depressed. I hated being in social situations. I couldn’t hear my boss at work. I had to set the TV volume 10 levels higher than normal. I just did not like being around people because I could barely hear what they were saying. Literally had to tell people that I couldn’t hear them and they needed to speak up. I went to the walk-in clinic at the Walmart after work one day. They were ready to flush out built up ear wax. The doctor on duty looked and said there was no wax build up. Instead, she prescribed me a nasal spray. I questioned why my family doctor didn’t do this but hey, it was something new to try.

So I get the nasal spray, I’m trying it out. The nasal spray hurt! I honestly felt like I was snorting sand or something when I used it. So, I went to Saje Wellness. It’s my store, I love it there. I told the sales lady my issue and she said that maybe their “Immune” product would help. I bought it, it didn’t.

I’m not kidding you when I say it was BAD. I couldn’t hear conversations, I couldn’t hear the door to the office opening. I need to greet guests as they arrive and I can’t see them from my desk. Needless to say, losing your hearing is scary. Time goes on, we’re talking three months I would say. I was scheduled to go see the audiologist again to see if there was any improvements. There was! My audiologist said that my hearing seemed to be improving slowly. I thought the same, I wasn’t sure if I was just getting used to the hearing loss and trying to read peoples lips or what. So then, three weeks later I go to see my doctor. She was happy with that report and said that since it’s improving, we should just leave it for now. But, she wanted me to go back and see the audiologist in a few weeks.

I go back for what I could call a pressure test. I was never actually getting hearing tests done apparently. Again, how am I suppose to know what the professionals are doing or are not doing. He tells me that it seems to have been getting worse again. Great.. cool.. yay. You best believe I was researching everything and anything about my symptoms, learning about hearing aids, I was going in on Google and WebMD. So then, fast forward about two weeks later. I go and see my doctor again… so now I have seem my new doctor more than I have ever seen my last doctor in the past 15 years. She tells me that I need to go see an ENT specialist. These are the doctors who know everything about ears, noses and throats. I was like “yasssssss” finally. But I kind of figured this was going to happen based off my conversations with the audiologist.

Okay, thank god the audiologist is a great guy. Literally two days before my specialist appointment, I get a call that the ENT specialist is requesting another test from the audiologist. I had to call the hearing clinics office and ask for them to pleaseeeee squeeze me in for this because we never did it. It was the actual hearing test. I did NOT want to wait any longer and really didn’t want to miss my specialist appointment that I’ve been waiting for. Luckily for me, they were able to fit me in for a same day appointment.

Two days later I am at my appointment to see the specialist. Thank f*ck my boss is so understanding and my job is pretty flexible. You don’t get a say in the date or time with these appointments. I meet with the specialist, he seems like a very blunt and straight to the point dude that knows his stuff. I’m down with this, seems like me. He asks me tell him about what has been going on. He casually asks, can I shove this tube up your nose? It’s going to be really uncomfortable but it won’t take long. Jokingly, I’m like well do I really have a choice? Let’s do it. He goes in and explores the area. Takes a look in my mouth, ears, feels my throat. Yep, exactly what I was expecting. He tells me I need to get a myringotomy. Actually, I have already had a myringotomy when I was a little dude. This is a surgical procedure there they make a tiny incision in your ear drum to relieve pressure from the ear drum. This procedure is very common within kids. It helps with ear infections and fluid build up. It’s also known as “ear tubes,” and no, you cannot see the tubes at all. In fact they are so tiny, no one will even know I have them. So that is where I am at now. I’ve got my surgery on Tuesday and I am hoping and praying for it to resolve my hearing loss! I’ll keep you updated on how the surgery goes and share more information about pre and post operative procedures. I am asking my sister to film me when I come out of anesthesia.. last time, when I was a toddler my mom reminded me of how I got a little bitchy coming out of the anesthesia and was throwing dish cloths at the nurse.

Anyways, that was a novel and a half. I should have wrote a blog post sooner about this. But hey, five months later and we’re getting this taken care of. Fingers crossed for a successful procedure with no complications and positive results. If these don’t work out, they can try again with a different type of “tube,” and when I say tube they are barely a tube. They are so damn tiny, see below the size comparison to a dine. I am pretty relieved that for now, I won’t be needing any hearing aids. Nothing against them, it’s amazing what they can do and how well they are made now with the amazing advancements in technology… it would just have been a lot to take in and get to used to right now.


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