I adore my family. I would throw myself in front of a speeding car for them. But for the past several months, my beloved husband and daughter have teamed up to make me think I’m going deaf.
This was super frustrating – especially because I just found out that I am most definitely NOT and my hearing is fine!
Let me start from the beginning: I have problem ears. Well, one problem ear to be exact. As a kid, I had chronic ear infections anytime I swam, and we lived on the beach so I swam a lot. To this day, I still try to keep my head out of the water like a dog when I swim, because I’m paranoid of getting painful ear infections. And I haven’t had one in years!
My family also took a lot of international flights throughout my childhood, which did not pair well with chronic ear problems. I experienced unbelievably painful takeoffs and landings, including ear drum ruptures, more times than I care to remember.
In fact, by the time I was 12, I had serious hearing loss in my right ear from all the times my ear drum had ruptured. Friends used to ask me if it hurts to have your ear drum rupture, but in my experience, that’s when the pain stops! It’s agonizing up until that point, and then it feels all warm and fuzzy. Go figure.
Anyway, back to 1982. That summer, I had to have reconstructive surgery on my eardrum to fix all the damage that had been done and get my hearing back on track. It was a big deal – double surgery to take a piece of muscle from the side of my head and then use it to patch the eardrum. Let’s just say I was not thrilled about it.
You see, my parents had already promised me I could lease a horse that summer from our nearby riding stable – but then the ear surgery and recovery meant I couldn’t ride. So not only was I getting surgery, I couldn’t have or ride a horse for the entire summer?! Total bummer.
Fortunately, I got through the tympanoplasty surgery – including a bloody surprise mini surgery the next day to re-cauterize an artery in the side of my head that the ENT surgeon had somehow missed – and I recovered well. The shaved patch and scar on the side of my head were covered by the rest of my hair. And the following summer, I finally got to lease the horse I was madly in love with!
Afterward, my hearing did improve in my right ear – but it was never quite as good as my left. Fortunately, my ENT doctor told me that my left ear had become super-powered to compensate, so I’ve never had an issue with hearing throughout my life.
What’s that you say, sonny?
Recently though, my beloved hubby and daughter have been complaining that I don’t hear them the first time and that I say “what?” a lot. In addition, my daughter has been complaining that I like the volume up too loud when I watch TV. Personally, I think they are just low talkers, and the latter is simply that I miss the full Dolby experience of going to the movies and having the sound blow your hair back.
But I decided that maybe I should get my hearing checked. After all, I’m 50 now. Part of me thought the issue was that I live with a family of mumblers, but another part of me feared maybe they were right and that I was the one with the problem. Perhaps my hearing loss had gotten worse with age and I might actually need a hearing aid like my Mommers.
I made an appointment with Ohio ENT in the early part of this year, only to have it bumped by the Coronavirus as a “non necessity” appointment. I finally got to have my long-awaited appointment this month, and went through the full hearing test in a special little audiology booth.
They tested both ears with a bunch of random beeps going from loud to soft, and back to loud again. They also played a man’s voice saying certain words at different volumes, and then again in the other ear. And, they did all of the above again while a very distracting, “windy” noise was played, to see if I could still hear the beeps and voices over other sounds.
Finally, when all the testing was over, they took the headset off and told me the good news: the hearing in my left ear is certainly slightly sharper, but both my ears are within the normal hearing range. In fact, I was told that for a post-surgery situation like mine, my hearing is actually excellent.
Booyaaaaah! I knew it all along – I live with a couple of cotton-mouthed mumblers!
You can imagine my delight. And now if I want to rock my music nice and loud in my car, or turn up a movie to theatre-level volumes in my living room, I will do so happily, knowing that it’s a matter of preference and not need.
I’m perfectly comfortable with losing some of my faculties as I age, but I am glad that I haven’t started going deaf at the young age of 50. Maybe in another 20 years or so!
Have you experienced any hearing loss as you’ve gotten older, or has your rotten family tried to gaslight you into thinking you’re going deaf, like mine did to me?! I’d love to hear your hearing related stories in the comments below or over on Facebook. And also, let me know if you have any good pranks to help me get back at these two scoundrels of mine!