Health and Hearing: A Broader View (Part I)

All I wanted to know, after losing 100 percent of my hearing in the left ear in 1978, and much of the hearing in my right ear in 1980, was… why? Why did this happen to me in my late 20s while I was supposedly in perfect health? Why did it happen at the exact moment in my musical trajectory when I had reached a peak – winning acclaim, earning hefty dollars and with a bright future assured.

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Me, before my hearing loss

Why?

My plea was certainly to try and understand what had happened to me from a health standpoint after so quick and dramatic a loss. But more importantly, it was to see what I might be able to do about it. Other than telling me what happened, the doctors couldn’t tell me why – or what to do about it.

The polytomography showed no tumors. Steroids were administered to address potential immune issues, but there were no answers coming, and no drugs or surgery to help me forward.

They called it bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. A perfect term if you’re a hearing professional. A garbage term if you were me.

What could I do about sensorineural hearing loss?

Nothing, they told me. This was for life – including the accompanying tinnitus in both ears. And there would be no turning back. Only a hearing aid stood between me and silence.

I recognize for many among the “hearing lost,” that information would have been enough to know, and a hearing aid would have provided the necessary accommodation. Carry on. ‘Nuff said.

But it never was and never has been enough for me, in part because of my personality, and also because I had the added impetus – or more accurately, desperation –  to get back to music in some way, shape or form.

That was 34 years ago. Continue reading “Health and Hearing: A Broader View (Part I)”

BiCROS Aids — They’re Magic

I started with single-sided deafness when I was thirty. As time passed, I often thought that even if my deafness in that ear eventually became profound, I would be able to manage so long as I had hearing in my other ear. Then otosclerosis developed in my other ear and I needed to wear a hearing aid. The aid, lipreading and positioning strategies enabled me to cope and continue my job as a trainer for a local authority.

And then, (if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know) I lost the hearing in my better ear quite suddenly and my single-sided deafness switched sides: the severely deaf side was now the ‘good side’ and the ‘good ear’ was now a ‘dead ear’.

It was a confusing time – not least because after years of ‘positioning’ everyone to my left side, I now needed to do a complete switch. Not that I left the house much immediately after the sudden deafness, but when we did, my husband Richard and I both kept getting muddled up about which side we needed to walk on or where to sit.

As a consequence of my sudden deafness, I discovered the CROS hearing aid and the BiCROS system.

Continue reading “BiCROS Aids — They’re Magic”