Friday, November 15, 2013

the thankful project day 15 : an annoyance

When you hear the word 'ring' what comes to mind? Christmas bells? A siren? What about a ringing in your ear? You know, the ones you occasionally get that can drive you bonkers? Would you believe it if I told you I have a ringing in my ear 24/7? It's true! My ear, left to be exact, rings non stop since I was 16. It really isn't as terrible as it sounds (pun completely intended).

When I was in highschool my sister always dyed my hair. We'd lather on the dye and then bend over a bathtub to rinse it all out. Well, one time after we rinsed the dye out I noticed my ear started ringing. I thought I probably just got some water in it and it would go away soon but ... it didn't. I then started feeling sick. Like really really sick. I couldn't stand, sit, walk, move or do anything without barfing to the moon and back. Sounds fun right? After a few days when I could at least move without upchucking everywhere I went to the doctor. I was still feeling dizzy (couldn't walk or drive) and couldn't hear very well from my left ear. They gave me some prescriptions to fill and told me to go see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. I couldn't drive so my brother took me to get my prescriptions filled. I thought the pharmacist was a complete jerk because he kept asking "What's your name, hun?" After about the 3rd time of him trying to swoon me over by asking my name I basically yelled out REBEKAH BROWN! Then my brother stepped in and said "um, her date of birth is July, xx, 198x" ha! Apparently some hearing was gone =).

Well, I saw the ENT Doctor and basically he told me a virus got hungry and instead of giving me strep throat, or some other sickness it just decided to go eat the nerve in my ear as well as kill my equilibrium for a while. I lost 42% of my hearing in my left ear and I was stuck with a permanent riiiiiing. They told me that depression medication stops ringing but depression runs in my family so I declined that option as I didn't want to mess my system up. They also told me I could have surgery but the success rate was very low and if it didn't work I'd be completely deaf ... um, no thanks!

From day one I just learned to take it for what it was and live with it. I honestly didn't think it was that bad because if I had to lose something it might as well be hearing. To me it is better than losing an eye, an arm, etc. A hearing aid crossed my mind but I didn't really want to be 16 and wearing one. However, in my early 20's my Mom told me to go back to the ENT, to pick the best hearing aid they had and that she would pay for it. I told her no way, but you know how Moms are - you don't really cross them. So, I went. I had another hearing test, worked with the best audiologist and got a hearing aid.


The hearing aid I got is the one on the far right. When I first got my hearing aid, it took my brain a while to process sound again but once I adjusted, holy cow! I realized that I had been missing on 'hearing' all this time. I could actually hear what was happening on the left side of my world. =). My hearing aid is top notch. First off, it connects to a computer and they can adjust the sound to what I want / need. Secondly, after I wore it for a while, they hooked it back up to a computer and could tell what type of noise environments I had been in and adjusted it so it could drown out background noise and pick up conversations better. It also goes into my ear canal and that wire wraps in my ear so you can't really see it. The only down side for me is that moisture builds up in my ear and makes it itch. However, I have ear drops for those and not everyone has that issue. 

I even wore my hearing aid to my wedding. You can see the wire if you look closely but the rest isn't visible. 

Why am I posting a ringing in my ear and hearing loss as a blessing? Because I'm thankful it was only 42% hearing loss in one ear. I'm thankful for the 58% of hearing I do have! My brain, for the most part, ignores the ringing (unless I think about it which I am right now). I've learned to laugh at it. I have a hard time telling where sounds come from and when you are with family and there is an airplane flying above on the right and I turn left ... well it just gets a bit entertaining. Lastly, unless medical science restores my hearing, the first time I'll hear 100% again is when Jesus comes back or when I get to heaven. I can't imagine anything better than hearing my Savior's voice with complete hearing. I think that's pretty cool. 

I'm also posting this because I know of several people who have said "Can you please talk to so and so about your hearing aid because they can't hear and are missing out". I've had multiple people ask me that. So, if you have hearing loss - go get yourself a lovely hearing aid! It doesn't make you old. It doesn't make you weird. It can pretty much be hidden and guess what? You'll get to hear again. You will hear your grand babies, your spouses, nature and so much more. If I'm 28 and have one I think anyone can have one. They even have fun colors and zebra patterns for kids. Yes, it costs a couple thousand dollars for a top notch one. However, that comes with a couple years warranty, unlimited batteries, unlimited visits to you audiologist to get it tweaked as needed and most importantly it comes with the gift of hearing. 

Anyone else have hearing loss? Do you know of anyone that has hearing loss? If needed, please feel free to put them in touch with me. Deciding to get tested for hearing and agreeing to a hearing aid is a big and sometimes tough decision. I'd be happy to share my experience and give them some direction as to where to start with the hearing aid process. 

3 comments :

  1. I have tinnitus too, but I've got it in both ears. And fortunately I haven't lost any hearing or balance. I've had it for as long as I can remember. I think it's so great that you can remain positive and thankful about the hearing you do have, it's such an inspiration.

    Much love,
    Lydia x
    thepiccolopixie.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. I had no idea! I can't even see the wire in that picture either. What a wonderful, positive outlook on something that many people would see as a super annoyance.

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  3. I never knew you had a hearing aid! Thank you for sharing the story. It's great to be reminded to be thankful for the things that may not seem so wonderful.

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