Monday, April 3, 2006

I really have no idea what to name this post. I have had such a wild range of feelings today.
I found out today, after some simple hearing tests, that some of the tiny bit of hearing I have had for thirty years has left me. I first noticed it Thursday night, at a Bible study, when all the noises seemed to blend together more than usual, and voices were muffled, and my hearing aid just didn't seem loud enough. I changed the battery, since that usually fixed it. This time, however, it didn't help. I decided that it was probably cold and sinus pressure (although I felt fine) and decided to wait a couple days before panicking.
Friday I changed the battery again, thinking perhaps the previous one was defective. No such luck. I decided to blame it on my hearing aid, although it looked fine, and hadn't been dropped, gotten wet, or otherwise maligned. I decided to just tough it out over the weekend (it was a wonderful one, actually, since my mom spirited Ellie and me away to Atlanta, where we shopped at IKEA, ate at Macaroni Grill and On the Border, and spent the night talking, playing with Ellie, and laughing over Monk).
This morning I got up and went to the audiologist. I didn't have an expectation of getting in today since I didn't have an appointment, but couldn't hear well enough to wrangle an appointment over the phone, so I thought I'd just walk in and see what they could do. At first they were just going to work on my hearing aid and make an appointment for another day, but when they learned that my hearing had dropped abruptly and not come back, they whisked me back to the testing booth, where I dismally failed my tests. Robin, my audiologist, showed me my previous test from 2001, which wasn't too great, and then today's, which was significantly worse.
What I had to work with before wasn't awesome. Since I was four years old, I have been 100% deaf in my left ear, and about 95% deaf in my right ear. I am a good lipreader, and have a Cadillac of a hearing aid, so I've managed to do fine over the years. What I learned today was that even my super high-powered hearing aid won't be enough for me to hear well if my hearing doesn't improve on its own. If I continue to lose sound, it won't be long before I will hear nothing at all. Since my original loss was sudden, dramatic, and unexplained, I have always prepared myself for the rest of it to go the same way, and it looks like it's happening.
Robin and I talked it over and the plan now is to consult with a surgeon and try to move forward with Plan B: a cochlear implant. I have kept it in the back of my mind for years, as my backup plan, but hoped I wouldn't ever need it. Robin is supposed to call me with an appointment time and day to meet with the surgeon. Then I will have the prerequisite tests and evaluations to see if I am a candidate. If everything goes smoothly, hopefully soon I will be able to try this marvel of technology for myself. It is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once. If they decide to implant my "good" ear (the one that is failing), I will be without any sound at all for around a month after the surgery. I just can't imagine it! However, it will be worth it if I can keep some sound.
Pray for me, please...that everything will work just as God means for it to, and that hopefully I will have some hearing restored, one way or another. I can't imagine a life without sound, especially the sounds of my children!

No comments: