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update - the hearing aid test [Sep. 22nd, 2008|09:30 am]
I went to try out a hearing aid the other day. It was a ric design which basically means it fits behind the ear with a small clear tube that goes down the ear canal - very sleek and discret! What they do is fit it in your ear and then plug it up to a computer that programmes it to suit your hearing loss in both ears. When this is done you are free to go wireless!! Instantly the improvement was very apparent - infact a little too apparent because everything was really loud (although I think it was programmed to be at the level of natural hearing) so my audiologist turned it down to a level that i was comfortable with and then we went for a walk around the town. From leaving the consultation room to walking up a few steps to the high street i could hear lots of strange noises so I assumed that there was something wrong with the aid, but then I realised it was just everyday sounds that I was not used to hearing like stairs creeking and my trousers rubbing together. We then walked down the high street and it was amazing! (and also very weired at the same time, and slightly over whelming) I could hear lots of detailed sounds I was not used to like the wheels on a buggy, and people talking from a distance with much more clarity. We only walked around for about 10 minutes but during that time I realised that i definately want/need a hearing aid. 

I have been to see someone at our local council who is looking into funding for me - I have to take in the paper work today, and im not sure how long it will take  to get an answer. Apparently for the stye of hearing aid i want (cic) it will take 10 days to make. I really eager to get one as soon  (if I can ) because I had my first lesson with my subject teacher at uni on friday and missed out on so much of it because i could not hear her (I was sitting at the front) and I could not read her lips because her hair was always getting in the way!

Any how - to sum up .... it an hearing aid is an option a would definately recommend trying one out!

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Update [Sep. 18th, 2008|10:58 am]
I went to see the audiologist (however you spell it) today. they did a simple hearing test which showed that my hearing has got worse (in my left ear and possibly my right ear) since the last test about a year and a half ago.

Im quite surprised because I always knew I didnt have great hearing in my right ear but now the the hearing in my left ear is approaching the same standard according to the test. The result shows that the left ear was only a little better than the right ear. But to me the left ear seems loads better than the right ear. I had an episode of tinnitus while having the test so now im a little worried that this has affected the results and they are not accurate. But anyhow I know that my hearing has not improved since my last test (I didnt think it had, infact I was I was noticing it getting worse) so we discussed hearing aid. On Sunday I get to try one out and walk round town with it. Im not sure if this is the right place to test it to be honest, I would love to borrow it for a night out down the pub with my friends, or for a day at uni and see actually how much I can hear. Im not really sure what to expect - a massive difference or something that is hardly noticable! Guess I will find out on Sunday!

Also because the results from the hearing test was not really what i was hoping for (that my hearing has got worse in my left ear) I think I may have a chat with my consultant again about the operation. The reason being that I found out something new today. Appparently with otosclerosis if the bone build up becomes too much (and starts growing into another part of the ear?) they are unable to do the operation because they might damage that part of the ear (cant remember what its called. So now im a little worried that I might have got to that stage already or approaching it? (but dont really know because the unwanted bone growth is very slow)- god im explaining this very well - sometimes it goes over my head a little!

All this said I dont want to sound like a complete drama queen because generally my hearing if fine in most situations, I would say that the mojority of people do not notice I have a hearing problem only the people I see on a regular basis.

To anyone out there reading my posts (if any!) I will let you know how I get on Sunday.

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(no subject) [Sep. 17th, 2008|11:04 am]
I too am glad I have found this post. About two years ago I had a episode of really loud and distracting tinnitus this lasted for about a week, which paniced me a little because I had never experienced it like this before, it made it really hard to concentrate and hear. So I went to see my GP who was was unsure as to why it had come on so quickly. During the appointment he did a simple hearing test on me which showed I had quite a hearing loss in my right ear. To he honest this was quite a surprise to me, now I look back on it I have always struggled to hear people but have always put it down to them mumbling! From this he referred me to see a consultant on my local ENT clinic.

Here they did a couple of hearing tests which showed a partial hearing in both ears and more so in the right ear (again quite a surprise to me!) , my consultant felt it might be otoschlerosis, but he was concerned to carry out a step stapedectomy because he was worried about the risks of it making my tinnitus worse. After a week or so the tinnitus calmed down and became less frequent - I read somewhere that it can be bought on by stress (i was a little stressed at the time!) This was about 2 years ago now, I still get tinnitus but no where near the amount/intensity as I used to. Although, I feel my hearing has got worse or I am just noticing it more in social situations.

About 2 weeks ago now I started a teaching course and I am finding it quite a struggle to hear students and teachers (before this i was working from home,communicating by email and phone(with the volume up high).

When I went to see the consultant 2 years ago they offered me an nhs hearing aid which I declined (i know this sounds really vein but I really didnt like the look of them, I know this is a pathetic reason but its just the way i feel).

Now I am in the position of either going back and asking for the nhs hearing aid, paying out for an in ear hearing aid which are very expensive, or going back and seeing my consultant and discussing the stapedectomy (although I am very aware of the risks involved in this operation).

I am looking into all options at the moment, I will probably go for the quickest option of getting an in ear hearing aid from specsavers - I have an appointment tomorrow to see what is available to me and how much they cost! im also looking into funding through my university (although at the moment its not looking too promising - funding is not available for help in everyday life only for items that help students to carry out the course- but still researching!)

Interested to hear anyone else's experiences with hearing aids - are they comfortable, do they make a real difference?

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(no subject) [Dec. 15th, 2006|08:30 pm]


I've been too swamped at work to actually visit a medical doctor yet, but the speech pathologist at our school screened my hearing a few months ago and found I had a significant hearing loss in the lower frequencies, consistent with a conductive, middle ear problem. I have ringing in my ears so frequently I don't even notice it. I did grow up hearing cicadas and crickets in Alabama. For awhile I thought there were noisy insects in Hawaii, then I realized I hadn't remembered them from the first time I lived here!

When I was in the classroom, I often had difficulty hearing students. I assumed they were mumbling, and they used to get very frustrated with me. I told them I listened to too much loud music as a kid, and damaged my hearing, so they needed to speak up. I figured it was a good warning for them, anyway. The speech pathologist tells me I have the wrong profile for that kind of hearing loss, though.

Now, I mostly work in an office, but sometimes assess students' academic abilities. The loud, obnoxious kids, I can hear fine, but if I get a student that is soft-spoken, I cannot hear her well enough to assess her accurately. I have to ask someone else to do something outside of their job description becauses I cannot do what is inside my own job description.

In fact, my brother suffers from otoschlerosis and had a stapedectomy a few years ago. I know it runs in families, and I know it is more common where the water is not flouridated (like where we grew up and where I live now). And middle-aged females such as myself are more likely to get it, so it seems chances are good I will be diagnosed. I have friends who had suffered other kinds of hearing losses, who have had to train themselves to use hearing aids late in life. Have you ever seen the Scietific American special on cohlear implants? Considering the expected outcomes for stapedectomy, I'll feel lucky if this is the kind of hearing loss I have.

If stapedectomy is recommended for me, I'm considering moving to Honolulu. Otherwise, I would have to fly in a 37-seat or 9-seat propellor plane to return to home and work after the surgery. Jets do not fly to this island, and the only ferry is from Maui, not Honolulu.

There are other reasons, too, but they are compounded by my hearing loss. Here on the rural neighbor island where I've lived for two-and-a-half years, people don't get attached to folks from the mainland. They've seen too many people come and go over the years. Many of the folks here have huge extended families that have been here for centuries, and I will always be an outsider.

The folks here speak a dialect of English that they call Pidgin. They speak it because they grew up speaking it, because it identifies them as locals, and sometimes to keep people like me from knowing exactly what they're talking about. "Ho Brah, you know--da kine...li' dat." Add that to a hearing loss, and I feel pretty isolated most of the time.

My friends like to drag me out to bars to listen to music and make small talk with people they don't know for hours. To me that's hours of trying to piece together the bits and pieces I can hear distinctly into something that has meaning to me, that I can respond to or comment about. It's about as much fun as trying to understand Chinese was, when I lived in Taiwan. I've developed a reputation for being standoffish as a result, and sometimes people get offended because I don't remember something they've already told me twice about themselves.

Cozy little group we got here.

[crickets chirp]
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Resources [Nov. 24th, 2006|04:47 pm]
First, a few web sites. All I did was google "otosclerosis," so you may have already seen these.




The following info on surgery came from that last web site I listed.

What Is A Stapedectomy?

A stapedectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure done under local or general anesthesia through the ear canal with an operating microscope. (No outer incisions are made.) It involves removing the immobilized stapes bone and replacing it with a prosthetic device. The prosthetic device allows the bones of the middle ear to resume movement, which stimulates fluid in the inner ear and improves or restores hearing.

Modern-day stapedectomies have been performed since 1956 with a success rate of 90 percent. In rare cases (about one percent of surgeries), the procedure may worsen hearing.

Otosclerosis affects both ears in eight out of ten patients. For these patients, ears are operated on one at a time; the worst hearing ear first.

What Should I Expect After A Stapedectomy?

Most patients return home the evening after surgery and are told to lie quietly on the un-operated ear. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed by the otolaryngologist. Some patients experience dizziness the first few days after surgery. Taste sensation may also be altered for several weeks or months following surgery, but usually returns to normal.

Following surgery, patients may be asked to refrain from nose blowing, swimming, or other activities that may get water in the operated ear. Normal activities (including air travel) are usually resumed two weeks after surgery.

Notify your otolaryngologist immediately if any of the following occurs:
-1. Sudden hearing loss
-1. Intense pain
-1. Prolonged or intense dizziness
-1. Any new symptom related to the operated ear
Since packing is placed in the ear at the time of surgery, hearing improvement will not be noticed until it is removed about a week after surgery. The ear drum will heal quickly, generally reaching the maximum level of improvement within two weeks.
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New to otosclerosis [Nov. 23rd, 2006|02:32 am]
[mood |anxiousanxious]

Hey there!

Quick history, I guess, and then a few questions.

My ears have rang for as long as I can remember. It's irritating, but has never really bothered me that much. However, since I mentioned it to my boyfriend he's been on me to get it checked out. Well, I was successfully blowing him off on that until the ringing changed. It's always been a steady high pitched ring, in both ears. Recently (though I can't pinpoint quite when) it changed to sometimes pulsing (sort of like a police siren) and was much more noticeable in my left ear.

Then I noticed I was having a difficult time hearing, especially on my left side. And then my ears started hurting, again especially on my left side. So, I bit the bullet and went to my doctor.

He thinks I have otosclerosis. He is sending me to an audiologist on December 6th, to have a hearing test and see if he agrees with my doctors diagnosis. I, personally, am a bit freaked out. I've been doing the Internet thing and have seen that if it is otosclerosis, it's hearing aids or surgery for me. Neither sound like something I'd like to deal with.

On to questions, has anyone here had the surgery? If so, could you share your story? Also, I didn't think of this while I was at my doctors, so I didn't ask, but.... I also have TMJ which is ALSO worse on my left side. Do ya'll think there is a connection? Anyone else here have TMJ?

Alright, long enough post for my first...

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2nd doctor's visit ... [Nov. 10th, 2006|01:48 pm]
I just scheduled a second visit (last one was about a year and a half ago) to have my hearing re-evaluated. I feel like my hearing loss has gotten even worse in my left ear, and I've also noticed nearly-constant ringing (also in the left ear.) Also occasional pain, but I don't know whether that's related. I was prone to earaches as a kid.

Just wondering what kind of treatment (if any) you've had. Last time, the doctor gave me three options:

1. wait it out and see what happens
2. get a hearing aid
3. have surgery

Well, option 1 has not been especially helpful, so I suspect he will once again propose a hearing aid or surgery. Surgery is a scary thought. But I don't think I could bear to wear a hearing aid as a young music teacher.
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(no subject) [Aug. 25th, 2006|02:40 pm]
Hello, mod.

I am a 25-year-old music teacher with moderate hearing loss in my left ear. This was officially confirmed last summer when I went through an extensive hearing test. The doctor said that he suspected otosclerosis, but that the only way to confirm that was through surgery. You mentioned a CT scan - I didn't know that was an option, and would like to learn more.

Both my father and grandmother have extensive hearing loss, so this definitely concerns me. I have noticed that I have a harder time hearing low tones - it's as if my internal treble/bass adjuster is off.

I'd love to hear about your experiences, and I hope more people join this community.

ETA: I love the Beethoven icon - you must be a musician, too.
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