This post is going to right back to the beginning of time – my time at least. I am going to answer the ever-popular question about my hearing history. It has come to my attention that I have been vague about my hearing loss history and that is going to be cleared up... right now!
*slaps hand on desk* :)
My little hearing biography starts in the womb.
- My mother was hospitalized with pneumonia during her first trimester and was given antibiotics. I have no clue what kind of antibiotics they were.
- When I was a year old, I contracted E. coli, which brought on 106-degree fever. I was hospitalized for three weeks.
- When I was two years old, I became sick with a high fever. I was hospitalized. Again. This time diagnosed with Anemia. I required two blood transfusions and a three week stay at the lovely Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This is the year that I started talking and have not shut up since.
- When I was three years old, somebody gave me the year off because nothing major happened. :)
- When I was four years old, my grandfather had a slight noise induced hearing loss, so everyone would talk loud. But when he passed away my parents started talking normally. I kept turning the TV up louder and louder. I kept coming down with reoccurring tonsillitis and ear infections but that is not all, my hearing loss was finally detected and I was fitted with a pair of Widex analog hearing aids. In addition to my parents being told I had a hearing loss, they were also told I was mentally retarded. Nice, right? My parents sought a second opinion and it was confirmed that a hearing loss was my only problem. At this age, I was able to equate my hearing loss with my grandfather passing away by saying “my ears died a little like pop-pop.” After that, hospitals and dying was one and the same for me.
To sum it up:
*** See update at the bottom of the post.
- When I was five years old, I was hospitalized and had my tonsils removed. I was surprised when I woke up that I still had that hangy ball thing in the back of the throat.
- I managed to stay relatively healthy for the next couple of years; it must have been all those green vegetables. When I was ten or eleven years old, I stopped wearing a hearing aid in my left ear because it sounded like I was under water and Darth Vader was talking to me.This is the year that tinnitus started but it lessened as the years went on.
- When I was 16 or 17, I went through DVR and managed to squeeze a Siemens digital hearing aid out of them. It was an improvement but it broke down a lot. There was no significant change to my hearing but to my know it all attitude was a different story. :)
- Around 21-22 years old, I started to experience these episodes of tinnitus or whatever the heck it was. It would sound like everything was underwater. At first, I would go to sleep with an episode and wake up fine. As the years went on, the tinnitus episodes started increasing in frequency and lasting longer.
- By the time I was 26, I was up to having an episode once a month for sometimes as long as two weeks.The strangest things brought them on, a strange movement on my jaw, landing hard on my feet and the cold.I stopped chewing on hard candy, attempted to walk softly (which was difficult because I am like a cow in a china shop wearing heels) and wrap myself up in dozens of scarves.Nothing worked.I abstained from coffee, tea, salt, sugar and my favorite, RED WINE. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to abstain from drinking crushed grapes?! Staying away from all the good stuff near drove me in the ground but it had no effect on my tinnitus. It came and went as it pleased.
- In February 2007, I decided to have surgery to repair a deviated septum and upon waking up in the recovery room, I had tinnitus so loud that I could not hear anything. I was completely deaf. My hearing stayed that way for the next seven months. You can read about that day here.
Audiogram after the deviated septum Surgery
Audiogram after the deviated septum Surgery
- In August 27, 2007, I had surgery to receive a cochlear implant. When I woke up, the tinnitus was gone. Hallelujah! I was able to hear subtle little sensations of sound through my hearing aid like my dog barking and dishes clanking but it was something!
- On September 17, 2007, they flipped the switch and it has been amazing ever since.
Audiogram: Pink line is five weeks post activation with the CI.
I currently wear the cochlear implant on the left side with a Siemens Triano SP hearing aid on my right. My hearing aid is programmed to the max. I cannot have the volume all the way up because I experience sharp shooting pains in my ear. I don't hear anything substantial from my HA except for noise. Why do I wear it then? It keeps the tinnitus at bay and brings a sense of hearing in stereo. I can understand much more with the cochlear implant without the HA on.
A month after my CI activation, I was plopped in the soundproof jail and I scored an average 44% on sentences in quiet. The harder test is the words which I scored 8% on, but I managed to score 33% on the phonemes. I get points for phonemes because that means I was able to guess part of the word. For example, the man in the speaker said tick and I said kick – I get points for ick. :)
Five months after activation, I got stuck in the jail again and I scored an average of 79% in sentences in quiet which was well – a 79% improvement. :) My audiologist Jennifer decided that I progressed enough to do the HINT (Hearing in Noise Test) test. She gave me the +10 HINT which means the voices was raised 10dB above the noise and I scored a pathetic 34% on that. Now my one year mapping results – I scored 79% on the sentences in quiet which is not a major improvement from my last test, but I was never one of those people that was aiming for 100% because all I wanted to was to hear something. I feel that I perform much better in real life and the following tests scores prove that. These are the result of the +10 Hint – 74% which is a great improvement from my last score of 34%. My audiologist decided to give me the hardest test – the +5 HINT test which means the voices is raised 5dB above the noise and I scored – 65% :)
Some of you might go, you went through surgery and got your head cut open and you can’t even get over 80% comprehension in quiet! When it comes down to it, I didn’t get the cochlear implant to hit hundred percent in a soundproof booth; I got it to gain anything over zero percent. I was happy with the 44% a month after activation and I am happy with 80% now. However, in all actuality these test scores do not reflect how I feel that I perform in real life. I can see how well I perform just by what I am picking up.
*** UPDATE ***
On December 23rd, 2008, I was diagnosed with Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome.
To be updated...