Better Late than Never.
Welcome to the world of selective hearing loss...
Ah yes, my pretties, it's been a long while since the Kat updated you on the happenings in her life. So go on, get a beverage of your choice, and your smokes because since it's been so damn long, this could take awhile.
A wise old gal once told me that the good Lord doesn't give one more than they can handle. But ya know, I'm beginning to question that a bit. About a year before I was diagnosed with "the beast", I was at a benefit concert at a local bar. Whilst mingling with band members and friends, I turned the corner where a quite large speaker was standing. As the band made it's way up to the stage, (me still standing by said speaker) the lead dude yelled into the microphone, and I was literally pushed into my hubby with my right ear ringing like the Liberty Bell. After a week of this ringing, I had no choice but to see a doc. I was advised that I had a 'traumatic hearing loss' and that it could return to normal, or not. It never did. So I just learned to live with the fact that I'd be partially deaf in one ear for the rest of my life. Ok..no problem. I can live with that.
Then "the beast' tried to invade me..and I conquered that. But what I didn't know, was that the poison (chemo) that they were giving me to kill said beast was ototoxic. No, don't go get the dictionary...I'll tell you what it is. Ototoxic means that there is a probability that it could affect your hearing. To be honest, I'm sure my oncologist told me this, but at that point in time, I really wasn't focusing on my hearing. My focus was on killing the beast.
Ok...so fast forward to 3 years with NED (no evidence of disease) I get this nasty flu bug, cold, whatever virus you want to call it, and it kicks my sweet ass. My ears become plugged and I feel like I'm living underwater. Doc #1 tells me this is fluid build up in my middle ear, puts me on high powered antibiotics and sends me home. After 4 weeks, hearing is still not good. Go back for Doc #1, and again, another round of high powered drugs. This should knock it out of me, he advises.
Nope... still can't hear a damn thing. So now I'm getting pissed. All these wonder drugs aren't doing diddly. I have no pain, no wax, my ear canal is clear as the blue autumn sky. So why the hell can't I friggin' hear? Doc #1 send me to Idiot Doc #2 who now advises that I have a severe sinus infection. Yup, another round of drugs. I advise Idiot Doc #2 this is the last time I'm doing this. Another 4 weeks pass, and still no hearing. Now I'm passed pissed off. I demand from Docs 1 & 2 that they send me to a hearing specialist. After much debate and arguement...I get my way. (Don't I always?) *wink* Anywho, I go to this hearing specialist. Dr. M. OH. MY. GOD. Finally a doc that is actually listening to what I'm telling him. He confirms that my ear canal is clear and that he does not think this is any kind of fluid build up. He in turn, sends me to Amy, the in house audiologist, to perform a hearing test.
The news is not so good. In my right ear, I can hear approximately only 40% clearly, in the left I can hear 60% clearly. It's not fluid. The problem is in the inner ear. Where all those teeny tiny nerve endings are. After a series of tests, it is determined that I have nerve damage, or in medical terms, a sensorineural hearing loss. There is no cure. It will not get better. (the good lord is handing me more shit) *sigh* The only thing that will help at this point are hearing aids. Yeah, I cried. Insurance does not pay for hearing aids. They are expensive. Not hundreds, but thousands. For how many months was I told this was a fluid build up? Not only that...there are many ototoxic drugs out there that people take every day and don't even know that they can effect your hearing. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, even Tylenol. Now granted, you have to take copious quantities for those to effect your hearing, however, I did receive copious amounts of chemo. Which can stay in your body for up to 5 years..and due to the ototoxicity of the drug.... well, low and behold, I'd get that damn side effect. Give me a drug, and I'll get the rarest of rare side effect from it. Yes, I'm sensitive like that.
A few days ago, I went back to see Amy the Audiologist. I love her. She's da bomb! We talked and she showed me various hearing aids, most of which you can't even see because my hair will hide them. Due to the type of loss I have, I cannot wear the little ones that hide inside your ear. I have to have the ones that fit behind your ear and have a mold that fits inside your entire ear. She took casts of my ear canal with this floamy stuff. I must say, it was very interesting. Next, she told me that I'd literally have to re-train my brain to hear. HUH? Do what? Yes, it's true, not only do we hear with our ears, we also hear with our brain. But both she and I know that I can do this. It will be done by wearing the aids daily and adjusting to them. Just like one adjusts to a pair of new glasses. It takes time. I get a 30 day trial period, and if these don't work, we'll try another pair. This set of aids will actually log my hearing environments over a period of time, and then they can be adjusted so that I have optimal hearing capacity. They also can be turned off anytime I please. Talk about selective hearing loss! YEAH BABY!!
I've decided not to question the good Lord on this...I can handle it. No, I take that back. I WILL handle it.