Hearing Problems

I’m going to skip over apologizing for not blogging for several months and just get into it: Things are happening, and they need to be documented, as is my weird way.

A few months ago, I started to notice I was having more trouble hearing than usual. Regular readers (assuming you’re still here, despite my absence) will know that I use hearing aids and have since I was 14. The average shelf life of a pair of hearing aids is around 5 years, and my current pair turns 6 this month.

I had to accept the likelihood that my hearing aids were failing. I also had to accept that, irresponsible person that I am, I had not been saving diligently since college in preparation for this inevitable occurrence.

With the help of my friend Laura, who majored in communications with an emphasis on audiology, I began the long, arduous process of getting new hearing aids and finding funding for them.

It’s a boring story, so I will cut it short. New hearing aids are, for now, put on hold because I have something called cholesteatoma, or a benign cyst in/on my left eardrum. I am almost certainly going to have to have surgery to remove it, and this surgery could make my hearing better or worse. It will, however, keep the cyst from killing me, which is apparently what can happen when it goes unchecked for long enough and starts in on your brain. Luckily this doesn’t happen often, because before it reaches your brain, it destroys all the bones in your ear, of which you usually become aware when you realize you can’t hear anymore.

It’s scary, but it could be way worse. It’s more just upsetting, because I foolishly believed I’d never have to have ear surgery again after a childhood filled with them. Surgery after surgery failed to improve my hearing in a profound, long-term way; then, at 14, I got hearing aids, and the problem seemed to be solved. I felt I no longer had a hearing problem, more or less, so I stopped seeing doctors. Until now.

It’s a lot to process, because it’s just been kind of a shock — and a disappointment, because I was really looking forward to new hearing aids. Now it looks like it might be best to wait, to see how my hearing is affected as well as how the shape of my ear canal changes, post-surgery. But there’s still a chance I can order hearing aids now and have some adjustments made to them later.

I’ll know more after the 15th, when I have a follow-up appointment with my specialist. Christina went with me to see him last week and is kind enough to go with me again this next time coming up. It really helps to have someone with you in times like this, to remember to ask questions you’re too stunned to think about.

Meanwhile, I am helping out with my first Chicago video shoot on Saturday, and celebrating Valentine’s Day weekend with Kevin the weekend after. Work is still work, my family is doing well, and I’m happy. Sorry for the unprecedented dry spell, and thanks for coming back to read this update, at least.