Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Near Deafness

In a right handed world, I suppose you could say I have always had a challenge, but I learned how to deal with it.  In my middle age, I began to notice a loss in my vision. I was unable to see clearly details up close as I was working on set designs.  I am far sighted, and for the past several years I have had to wear glasses full time complete with invisible bi-focals.  I tried contacts but could never get used to bifocal contacts.  I have learned to deal with that too.  And so...

A few days ago, I went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.  I'd been suffering from pressure in my inner ear canals.  While I was there, they did a hearing test.  I had not had a hearing test since I was in high school.  It was one of those tests where a nurse puts headphones on you and asks you to raise your left or right hand when you hear a tone in that ear.  Wow, have the tests changed. It includes repeating words, announcing "yes" when you hear a tone three times, and putting a thing that runs between the forehead and the back of the neck with a device, that I still don't know what it does.  It is all done in a soundproof room.  You get this with earphones.  I didn't even raise my left or right hand once. I have to admit the soundproof room is a bit disconcerting.

Any student that had me in the past few years knows that I would tell kids to speak up all the time saying that my hearing wasn't what it used to be.  Too many guns, loud music and the numerous other things we all do when we were young that impacts what we hear.  I knew though that my hearing was no where near what it should be.  So I figured the test would tell me that I was getting older, and I'd lost some of my hearing.

I guess I knew that it was worse than that.  I cannot understand people who are walking away from me. I frequently had my wife interpret what others say.  My wife would tell me that the TV was on too loud.  In short, I had all the signs.  I have moderate hearing loss.  While I figured that my loss would be on one end of the tonal scale or the other, it's not.  It is in the middle range.

Now, I am going to learn to deal with something new.  Soon I will be getting my hearing aids.  Oddly, I am looking forward to hearing what I've been missing.  I am also bit befuddled as to why hearing aids are not generally covered by insurance.

It seems with earbuds and in-home theaters and all the other loud noises we surround ourselves with are impacting us all more and more.  Hearing loss is on the upswing.  One study shows that even among teens, one in five is suffering some sort of hearing loss.  Getting a good test is becoming as important as getting your eyes tested.

Hearing loss is an insidious thing.  It is slow and steady and irreversible.  Like my eyesight, my hearing loss could stop now, or it could continue.  No one, not even the audiologist, knows. I will cross that bridge when it comes, if ever. I will learn though to deal with it.