Hearing aids, part one. Meniere’s Disease, it won’t kill but!
Hi, I’m Marianne and I have Meniere’s Disease. Don’t worry, no one else has heard of it either, including most doctors.
Ménière’s disease affects the inner ear, specifically the auditory and vestibular nerves, which means that your balance and hearing are compromised. I’m bilateral, so both my ears are affected and as is often the case, they’ve been impacted differently. It’s a chronic disease, progressive, its origins are unknown and there is no cure.
That doesn’t mean I can’t make fun of it, though.
Current status: severely hard of hearing in one ear, losing it on the second, and prone to wandering off into traffic.
My outburst today is actually one of a series (that my family and friends have been putting up with) reflecting the joys of new hearing aids. FYI, i have been wearing hearing aids for about ten years, and this is not my first “adjustment period”. However, menieres is very greedy and I’m on my fourth hearing aid in five years. Yes, I’m very pleased… Sigh…
So I picked up a new blue-tooth hearing aid yesterday, courtesy of the Ministere de la santé et de l’incapacité de comprendre ce que tu dis de quoi tu parles mon touwé-la. And we rejigged my old one to fit the other ear and increased the volume and blah blah blah.
Why are we doing this, you ask? Why, that’s an excellent question, thank you so much for asking.
So, here’s the thing. Technically speaking, I can hear somewhat in both ears. Which is nice, but useless for me because hearing’s just frustrating when you can’t understand what’s being said, or understand that the noise you heard is either a car screeching behind you, a child talking to you, the damn noisy fridge, or a bear stalking you in the woods. My point is, it’s all just noise to me for the most part.
At my last hearing test in March, we determined that each ear is horrible individually, but together they’re better. I can understand words at very high volumes (think planes…or concert level… or colicky baby sitting on your head) about 75%, and 45%, of the time. But together, again at teenager-screaming-in-your-ear-while-riding-a-motorcycle-at-160kms/hr-with-Metallica-screeching-in-the-backgound, I can understand the world just a wee bit better. I don’t like the world any better, I can just understand it a bit better.
After playing with volumes and settings and cones and molds and stuff, I left the office fairly confident in my ability to handle the noises coming from outside my head (as opposed to the noises inside my cranium).
I heard my voice clearly. Wow. I have a very weird sounding voice, why didn’t anyone ever tell me that?!
I can hear myself breathe. Note to self: call doc to get more inhalers, chickie’s dying here…..
I heard raindrops on the windshield. Cool.
I clearly heard the creaks and groans and sounds of an old car we have. Holy crap, did it always sound that way? Like an old man waking up? oh well, it was free……..
The sound of the clock in the kitchen, the dogs nails across the tiles, the idiot next door mowing his lawn, the dogs barking (mother of f***g god, what the f**** was that????!!), the construction and demolition happening up the road (for the love of god, WTF??!), the washing machine, the dishwasher (low level decibels, my ass!)… okay, so there’s an extended adjustment period to be had… I will need to retrain my brain to understand what ALL THIS GODDAMNED NOISE IS!!!
How do you people do it. Honest to God… how?… and more importantly, why??…
I’m not sure this is going to work. But let’s give it a shot. I go back in a month to either adjust the levels or provide a bodycount. We’re keeping our options open.
This is a good thing this is a good thing this is a good thing…
Sigh. I’ll work on it.
(PS…this really is a good thing. But if I approach you with a blunt instrument in my hand, you should run. Far. Very very far.)