Back in September I got a nasty, nasty virus. Hazards of the job and it knocked me on my ass for a week and sent me to the doctor for a strep test and some antibiotics. Strep negative and antibiotics didn’t work (because I had a VIRUS!!). I most likely caught it from a kid and I didn’t Purell fast enough, but at the time I clocked it up to the September flu that spreads rampantly through all the schools during the first month after summer vacation.
During this time my super talented son was in a singing competition in Waterloo and I was driving back and forth (like Moms do) every weekend. On one weekend in particular I wasn’t feeling the best and convinced my mom to come with us so she could drive. I must have had a premonition because by the time we were driving home that night I had one of the worst ear infections I’ve ever had.
Now to give you some context I have a history of ear infections and ear tubes (four) as a child. As a teenager I almost got tubes again because of recurrent ear infections which magically cleared up when I graduated high school. As a Speech-Language Pathologist it is now my duty to tell you to always follow-up with your doctor or Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT) if you or your child has recurrent ear infections. It is very common in children and can lead to hearing loss and language delays. In adults, keep reading….
So back to my ear infection…it was bad. Painkillers didn’t work. Antibiotics were useless. The worst part wasn’t that I couldn’t hear anything. The worst part was the constant tinnitus that went along with a sudden loss of hearing. High pitch noises combined with what I can only describe as the sound of silence. Not a good thing for a Speech-Language Pathologist. I have to be able to hear and concentrate to do my job. So I took myself back to the doctor, waited for an ENT appointment, was sent to the audiologist and back to the ENT all to be diagnosed with permanent sensorineural hearing loss (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensorineural_hearing_loss). Now I’m getting hearing aides so that I can do my job as well as I could before this happened.
I tell you this story not for you to feel bad for me. It just hastened what was inevitable. I was heading for hearing aides anyway as the result of bad genes and growing up in the age of the Walkman. I tell you this so that you know not to ignore hearing loss. Listen to your family when they tell you there’s a problem. Go get your hearing checked regularly. Hearing aides are not a sign of a problem but a willingness to use the available technology to let us hear like we did when we were twenty!! And that technology is so cool now. I now have a built in set of wireless headphones that also function as a tool to help (hopefully) treat my tinnitus.
My intention is not to make light of what can be a devastating diagnosis for parents of children with hearing loss and for adults whose hearing loss can greatly impact their job and their enjoyment of life. My intention is to let others know that there are solutions to sudden onset and age related hearing loss, so ask your doctor for help and get an appointment with an audiologist!!