My Personal Hearing Loss Story
This might be a bit of a bore, but I just got hearing aids and there are a lot of people shocked to learn that I have hearing loss. Shoot, even I am a little surprised in some ways. So here is the story start to finish.
When I was a little girl my parents took me in for a hearing test because it didn’t seem like I was responding as well as I should. At the time I was diagnosed with stubborn toddler syndrome. In other words there was no sign of hearing loss.
I never struggled in school or carrying on a conversation so the idea of hearing loss didn’t come up again. In high school I realized that I couldn’t hear really high pitches that my friends could hear, but that’s not a big deal.
When I was 20 (2002) I had a bad episode of vertigo and experienced ringing and stuffiness in my left ear.
I expected it to subside, but when it didn’t I found an ENT and had a hearing test done. Their report showed mild hearing loss, but I was told there was no remedy and to just play music to distract me from the ringing. It was such a discouraging consultation considering I had no insurance at the time and shelled out $350 for the exam. I just wanted some answers. I wanted help.
Fast forward about 10 years (2012) and my daughter SJ was diagnosed deaf.
Her hearing loss is genetic, but we were told that J and I are both carriers of the genetic mutation. So it’s recessive. We have no history of deafness in our families.
In the mean time my hearing seemed worse, but I put my needs on the back burner. I thought maybe I was imagining it because there was so much focus on hearing loss in our home. I was always misunderstanding people or not hearing them at all. One day my sister in law asked if I ever considered getting hearing aids. I dismissed it because compared to SJ I was hearing just fine. I was in denial.
However three years later (in early 2015) I bit the bullet and decided I would have another hearing test done. I went to a GP who referred me to an audiologist. The audiologist tested me in a sound booth and the results showed that I had moderate to severe hearing loss on the left and mild on the right. I had so many questions for the audiologist, but she had no answers. She said that I needed to see a different doctor. They told me they would call me and they never did. I could have followed up and been more assertive, but I had three children plus one on the way and again I put my needs on the back burner.
After Elle was born she failed the newborn hearing screening. I swore she could hear because she flinched and startled to noise. Yet she failed the screening over and over again. Sadly, I knew this meant she would eventually be deaf like her sister. HOWEVER, the genetic test (which takes about 6 weeks for results by the way) showed that her hearing loss is different than SJ! Her hearing loss is still genetic, but it’s generally a mild hearing loss. None of us saw that coming. The geneticist said the only way this is even possible is if either the mother or father also have this hearing loss. I voluntarily suggested that it was me. Basically between SJ’s DNA and Elle’s DNA they uncovered the missing link to my hearing loss mystery. So they ordered a genetic test for me just to be sure. I got it back a couple weeks ago and it confirmed that I do in fact have hearing loss due to genetic mutation (I know that sounds weird). I asked about why it didn’t show up as a real problem until later in life and so far no one has an answer for that.
Regardless, now that I had it in writing with DNA evidence I was ready to do something about it. I went back to the same doctor, and was sent to another doctor, and then to the audiologist and was tested AGAIN and FINALLY got my hearing aids. So even though it looks like this diagnosis and treatment came from out of nowhere it’s kind of been leading up to this point for a long time.
So that’s the back story. I have a daughter who is deaf, a daughter who has mild hearing loss, and between the two of them I finally recognized that I have moderate hearing loss.
Of course everyone wants to know if it’s related to gender at all, but it’s not. That part is completely coincidental.
I am still getting used to the devices, but I do feel like I can hear a lot better with them. That does not mean that I hear perfectly though, so please be patient with me if I am not understanding or if I have to ask you to repeat yourself. Thankfully I have been reminded by several professionals that no one hears perfectly so I don’t need to feel bad.
This whole hearing loss journey has been a wild ride, but I at least we’re getting somewhere.