Another piece of the puzzle

Today I saw the audiologist. I knew the news were not going to be good, but I tried my hardest not to get sick being worried about what was going to happen. She started her testing and I did was pretty scared.

The testing is lengthy and frightening because while you can hear some of the tones, some of them were barely audible and obviously some none at all. We all take things for granted in life, and now I realize how much I have taken my hearing for granted.

The idea of never hearing again has me wanting to listen to more classical music… fortunately I think I will eventually get my full hearing back.

The audiologist does not have the authority to really tell me what is wrong, but from her knowledge it seems that the problem is actually in the middle ear, more specifically my stapes. She cannot truly diagnose that I have severe tinnitus and hearing loss just yet, she can only tell me that bellow 55 decibels I hear pretty much nothing. Both ears have the same exact problem.

A whisper is around 20dB, normal conversation is around 60dB. If someone has talks with a quiet voice I cannot hear them; if someone does not have my focus when they are talking in a normal voice, I can probably not hear them either. The worse thing is that it is something that is progressive so I have to get it checked out further. Next step is a consultation with a surgeon which will happen next week, I already made an appointment.

In the mean time I could get a hearing aid and it will help me a lot, however it is $1400 – 1700 for the cheapest ones and the insurance does not cover it. I might try some really low tech cheap ones and see what those can do.

There is a high probability that it is something that can be fixed because my cochlea (inner ear) seems to be intact, but the prospect of surgery terrifies me. There are probably a lot more tests to still do and more details to be learned, but at least I have another piece of the puzzle now…

Thanks for your good thoughts, prayers and overall support, without my wife, my family and friend I would probably be having a harder time with this.

16 comments on “Another piece of the puzzle

  1. Sounds like you’re in the hands of some good doctors. You’re going to be fine.

    I’m just glad you weren’t around that night when a bunch of the bloggers wound up doing karaoke at Paddy O’Quigley’s, because I’d be worried you would be blaming me.

    You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I’m very familiar with tinitus. I have constant, high pitched ringing in my ears 24/7. I can even hear it over the ambient noise of driving in my jeep with the windows open.

    I should see a professional.

  3. a co-worker had the surgery but I think he was pretty close to deaf before. now you can have normal conversation with the guy. although I agree about being scary, the way to deal with it is to drink a lot of hard liquor before you have to go.

  4. Ok, so another appointment to go, but at least you’re down one! My gma is stubborn and doesn’t want a hearing aid; instead the rest of us suffer when she turns up the TV to the point our brains are being scrambled. So props to you for not being stubborn in this department and figuring out what you can do. Surgery is scary, but is it scarier than never hearing Bea’s voice again? And surgery isn’t permanent; just a little temporary flat on the car during the road of life.

  5. Its a good thing to get this checked out. There is so much they can do now that wasnt even thinkable 10-15 years ago. SHOULD WE START TYPING IN ALL CAPS SO YOU CAN HEAR US. Goos luck with you other appts.

  6. At least it wasn’t those ear-burrowing critters from “Wrath Of Khan”. THAT would have sucked.

    Sounds like a solid diagnosis with a treatment that is both reasonable and effective. You are gonna do great man!

  7. You should get one of those old fashioned hearing aides from the 80’s. A big one that goes around your ear and has a wire going to your belt where the big box is attached. That would be awesome! Hahahaha.

    As for insurance… you should consider an HSA. Or at least mention the idea to your boss. Costs your company less money, and you can use your funds on whatever you want. What’s better is that your funds rollover to the next year for the portion you don’t use. I love my HSA.

  8. You should hear his cars radio volume as you get in….ouch. =P From what limited knowledge I have on ear surgery (my kids had tubes), seems pretty safe and basic procedure. As we talked about it yesterday, get a 2nd opinion and if opinion is surgery, get it done. Don’t wait.

    Oh…and I strongly believe in the power of positive thought so keep you chin up!

  9. I’m no authority on the subject, but given that surgery techniques improve as time goes on, it might be best to wait on that. If you can get by with the hearing aid for a few years, when you finally do pursue surgery they will probably have made some advances. Just my dos centavos =)

  10. @ Mark M Send Log a $1500.00 hearing aid and I’m sure he’ll wanna wait for a few years…lolz.

    @ Log – Seek that 2nd opinion your Doc recommended but since you say it’s getting worse as does your Doc I wouldn’t wait…if it was me.

  11. If surgery is an option (talking to the surgeon next week) I will get it as soon as possible. The audiologist (not a surgeon) was confident on what she had seen in the past with surgery as well as letting me know that they have been performing this type of middle ear surgery for over 20 years.

    She sent me to a middle ear expert, so I am sure that he will give me a lot more detail.

    The hearing aid thing is an option, but right now I don’t have the money for one since it is not covered by insurance at all and if hearing on my own with new bionic middle ear is an option I am all for being called a robot.

  12. I do wonder John. Did your hearing get worse before or after your recent plane trips? Last plane trip I took to Biloxi, MS I was fighting off a cold. During the flight it moved into my station tubes and into my inner ears. By the time I landed I could barly hear a thing. I ended up having to take a very strong anti biotic for 3 weeks before my ears finaly poped. >_<

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