Hearing Loss

Auditory Challenges

I was working from home the other day and my cell phone started to ring. Oddly, while I could hear it ringing, I couldn’t locate it. I wandered around, checking all the usual spots, but no luck. After 5 rings it stopped and I was at a loss as to what to do! I could phone my sweetie and ask him to call me so I could continue to search for it? Or I could just wait and assume it will turn up sometime? My youngest seems to have some sort of magnetic body – any electronic device sticks to him – so chances are good that he could find it, if no-one else could.

Whatever. The dogs needed a walk, and since I was up and wandering around I might as well get to it. I was putting on their leashes when my phone started to ring again. Oddly, while I’m now I’m in the front of the house it STILL sounded like it was right by me. Suddenly I remembered, I’d used the powder room when I got home earlier that day – maybe I’d left my phone in there? But a quick check dashed my hopes, it wasn’t there. As the ringing stopped – again – I gave a mental shrug. Might as well get on with things … surely it’ll turn up.

As I pulled out some bags to take with  me, I started to stuff them into my back pocket. Yes, dear readers, I’m afraid you are way ahead of me. Yup. There it was. My phone. It sounded as if it was right THERE, because it had truly been right there. Sheesh.

Another episode of “My Life as Brought to You by a Monaural Hearer Living in a Multichannel World.”

AW

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Hearing Loss

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

This author shares his thoughts on the value of CBT – many of which echo mine. As a “mental illness veteran” (love that description, Sid) I have been known to roll my eyes when anyone mentions CBT. However, unlike the author, I have had significant success with plain old talk therapy. Works for me and even now (16 years into seeing my therapist) I still go to her when I need to.

Hearing Loss

Tinnitus

Visual Thesaurus publishes a word-a-day and today’s word is “tinnitus”. (If you don’t know about Visual Thesaurus resource go there now and take a look. They produce fascinating 3-D tree-map descriptions of a word. Clicking on a linked word, or a node to that link will  explain what it means and take you deeper into the tree – or out to another tree for a different word. ) It is a beguiling and useful resource.

I was born hard-of-hearing and when I was about 5 an attentive GP discovered my hearing loss by crunching paper by my left and then my right ear. I turned to the sound on my left ear but I didn’t on the other side.  This discovery gave rise to a number of tests and along the way, it was discovered that I also had a slight discolouration (sort of a salt-and-pepper pattern) on the backs of my eyes. The eye doctor that discovered this was extremely alarmed and told my parents that they should watch me very closely as I would start to deteriorate into an Alzheimer-like state in the next 5 to 10 days and that in a year I would be dead. That was 45 years ago. Clearly, he was wrong but I imagine he gave my parents a few grey hairs along the way! However, every eye doctor I have had since has mentioned/commented on this colouring and I’ve learned to preempt their questions by telling them about this before the test begins.

Eventually everyone figured out that the damage to my hearing (and my eyes) could all be attributed to my mother having had a very mild episode of Rubella while she was pregnant, and everyone settled down. My hearing loss, luckily, never interfered too much with my ability to discriminate speech, although I have really never paid attention to any input coming from my “bad” ear.

How does all this connect with tinnitus you might be asking? Well I suffer from this malady although (again) my suffering isn’t nearly as acute as that of others I know. However the odd thing for me, when I get it, is that it is almost always in my deaf ear. The sensation is almost indescribable … how does one explain what the feeling of “hearing” something feels like in an ear that doesn’t hear? Could it be compared to the phantom limb experiences amputees suffer? Regardless, the mere occasion of it happening causes several spin-off sensations: dizziness, a feeling of vertigo and a sense that my world has suddenly turned inside-out. All these feelings are brief, but consistent, and I can never predict when it will happen or what triggers it.

Bodies –  my sweetie sometimes uses the term wetware – are strange things. The fact that we all work as well as we do most of the time is amazing.