Monday, October 5, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Still not sure quite how to pronounce it...

Short version: I went mostly deaf in my left ear.

Long answer: I have a diagnosis of Ménière’s Disease, mostly in the left ear.

Ménière's has four distinctive symptoms:

  • Aural fullness 
  • Tinnitus 
  • Vertigo 
  • Hearing loss 

I've had three of the four symptoms over the years, off and on, as far back as 1985, but for most of the summer I thought my left ear was plugged due to allergies. But then the allergies more or less went away, but the ear still felt (and continues to feel) plugged. I realized I couldn't use the phone with my left ear. Off to the ENT. Off to the audiologist. Yup, four for four. Almost certainly Ménière's. But just to be safe, let's run some tests to eliminate other maladies, such as brain cancer or multiple sclerosis. Aack! Thpt! That was was the scariest part I suppose. Waiting, waiting, waiting...

"Mr. Brady, we're calling to inform you your tests were negative..." No cancer, no MS. Cool beans! Nope, just irreversible deafness, occasional bouts of sudden dizziness (and nausea and puking), a 24/7 concert of crickets, and an ear that feels like I can't clear even after I have. The condition is apparently caused by endolymphatic hydrops, excessive fluid in the inner ear, which tears the hair cells off the walls of the semicircular canals (balance, nausea, and puking) and the cochlea (tinnitus and hearing loss). The disease is both progressive and irreversible. Great, just great!

I noticed that co-workers seemed to be getting used to me not understanding everything they said. Scary moment number two: social isolation. Screw that! Off to the audiologist again. Left the office hearing much better, but with a $1,500.00 dent in my credit card. Still can't use the phone with my left ear, but at least I can hear it ring.

Still feeling a little sorry for myself, but I'm working it...

1 comment:

  1. Howdy, I seem to be batting about .500 on the symptoms listed. I imagine mine comes from my time around various loud noises. The Army flagged me for my hearing at one point and gave me what they called a SPRINT test. It consisted of listening to a bunch of words spoken with what sounded like a lot of background conversation in the background. Apparently, I scored about the highest they had encountered. Flag removed.
    I do have issues with hearing stuff in a crowd, and of course when my kids talk to me when we're not face to face.