Friday, March 20, 2015

Hearing loss in my thirties

My name is Carly.

I am 37 years old.

I was just diagnosed with 
bilateral moderate to severe hearing loss.



Can I tell you my story?
It started about a month after 
the birth of my first daughter Ellie.
That was June of 2002.

I remember laying on the couch
watching tv
when I noticed a ringing in my ear.
It came and went
but was very frustrating.
I knew that wasn't good but I tried to ignore it.

As time went on
I realized if I was laying down
with my left ear down
I had a really hard time hearing.
This was most prevalent
when I was watching tv or talking to my husband. 

It bothered me enough 
that I went in and got my hearing checked.
I had some mild high pitch 
hearing loss in my right ear.
Nothing that we were 
going to do anything 
about except to continue to monitor.

Fast forward 12 years.
I knew for those 12 years that 
my hearing was poor
but if I could position myself
so that my left ear was toward the person talking
I usually did fine to follow
the conversation.
But that changed over the last year.

I started noticing 
that it sounded like my kids were mumbling...
ALL OF THE TIME!
They were getting frustrated
because I was always asking them to repeat themselves
and I was frustrated because I 
couldn't understand them.

I also realized
I couldn't follow a story line 
in a tv program unless the volume
was up...way up.
I even started using sub-titles
due to the brilliant suggestion of my bff!

Sadly, I started noticing
that I was struggling fully understanding
the things that were being said to me at work.
I had to ask people to repeat themselves.
I would read lips.
I sometimes would catch only half the words
in the sentence and guess at what was being said.
That doesn't work
when you work as a nurse where 
patient confidentiality is 
of utmost importance.
We often talk in hushed tones
so that others families
can not hear what is being said.
I hate to say
but I was so embarrassed by my inability to hear
that I would often just
fake that I could hear people.
Smile and nod!
I am sure a number of my co-workers
will now say...
her behaviors make sense now. 

The final straw 
was just the other day
when a sweet friend and fellow nurse
told me
"I've called your name
3 separate times and you didn't answer. 
Is there something wrong with your hearing?"

I knew it was time to get my hearing checked again.
I made an appointment.
Met with the audiologist,
had the test done.
Time for my results.

Bilateral moderate to severe hearing loss.

I knew it was bad before I went it,
but I was surprised by how severe it was.
In the range of peoples voices 
I had severe hearing loss.
No wonder I couldn't hear them.

Intellectually I knew it was bad
but seeing the results on the screen
and hearing the words
"hearing aid"
started the tears flowing! 
The poor audiologist. 
Her name is Heather.

She let me vent 
as I cried...
cried the full body ugly cry!

Glasses are cool.
Hearing aids are not cool.
People with hearing aids
 are perceived as being 
old
mentally slow
unable to communicate.

There has been such a stigma
attached to the wearing of hearing aids. 

That is all I could think of!

After I cried and vented and cried 
some more
I remembered the necklace that Heather was wearing.
It was a metal tag
with the words
"I CAN DO THIS"
stamped onto it.

I felt such an overwhelming
peace and comfort.
I told Heather 
that she must of been inspired to wear 
that necklace
because that was just the message I needed
at that moment.

I can do this!

I can do this!

I can do this!

I have to tell you
that after I had my little pity party
I have had many opportunities 
where my concerns were put into perspective.

I know many who are suffering
with things far worse
than the loss of hearing.
Yes,
this trial stinks!
But I have my health.
I have lost almost 40 lbs.
I am in a good place physically
and quickly getting to my goal weight!
I have so many positives.

This is just a hurdle
that I will get over!

My goal:
To show that world
that hearing aids
are cool
and sexy
and make you a bionic/iron woman!

(seriously I googled "sexy hearing aids"
there was nothing...just pics of hearing aids)



My initial plan was 
to purchase a hearing aid that was
super tiny
fits all the way in the ear canal
and super invisible to most
so that I could hide under a rock.

But I am super grateful to 
Heather, 
the audiologist,
who told me that she could 
fit me for a tiny little hearing aid

or
 she could help
me get the coolest hearing aid out there. 
She told me I was 
young
and cute
and had a fun personality
and I should 
rock this!

That really struck a cord with me.
Like I said before,
I can rock this
or 
I can hide and pretend my hearing is just fine.
I was scared
but loved that idea!

Who cares that I wear hearing aids!
Guess what,
they are bluetooth capable
and I can just talk on my phone
right through the hearing aids.
Plus anything you stream through 
bluetooth headsets,
I can too!! 


That little gadget
I wear around my neck
and it connects with my hearing aids.
It allows me to talk to Siri,
make and answer calls,
strem music and audio.
It is pretty awesome.


I even got purple hearing aids.
I didn't try to match my 
skin or my hair.
I went for bright purple.
I'm gonna have fun with this.

Three days down with hearing aids.
Wishing I would have done this a long time ago.
I can hear things I haven't heard in 
a long time.
Like I just heard a plane fly over head.
I also could hear Tanner practice the cello
from his bedroom.
I could hear my keys jingle.
I could hear every word 
that my kids teachers said
at parent teacher conference today!

I have now entered the phase of
adjusting the hearing aids
and allowing my brain to acclimate 
to all the new sounds.
I could even hear every child crying
while I was shopping at walmart.
As time goes on, 
my brain will filter out background noise
but it is currently being bombarded
with lots of sounds
and I have to have patience
as we get these hearing aids adjusted!

If you notice a loved one is struggling with hearing,
be supportive and nonjudgmental.
I read that there are 25 million Americans
who are under the age of 45 with hearing loss.
And many of them
are going without help
because of the stigma that follows
the hearing impaired.

You know
I was more scared to blog
about having hearing aids
then I was to tell you 
that my weight!
That is messed up!

Let's get hearing aids
to be as cool as classes.
Seriously,
If you wear a bluetooth ear piece
you are half way 
to hearing aids ;)!

Share with those who might be struggling
with hearing loss!
Together we can change the stigma!
I know it!





  i will

i am strong
i can take time for me, that is okay
i am beautiful, inside and out
i CAN find time to eat a healthy balanced diet
i am not less of a person if my house is messy
i can do anything i put my mind to

 
 

 

1 comments:

Holly said...

Thank you for this. I am 32 and found out yesterday that I also have moderate to severe hearing loss. They don't know why and nothing I can remember occurred. No ringing, nothing. I've used subtitles forever. I'm a master lip reader. I knew I couldn't hear as well but didn't know it was as bad as it was. I get fitted next week and like you, wanted the really, really small ones. My audiologist said though that the behind the ear would be the best for me in the beginning so I've also decided to rock it. I hope they make pink ones.