Posts Tagged ‘hearing’

In Which My Eardrum Bursts

Posted: 16/04/2010 by Toby in News
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This last couple weeks our family has been struggling with germs of the lungs, throat, and nose, and possibly head.  Well, early this week, Sharole took it up another level when she got an ear infection. The kind she gets are not necessarily limited to the ear, hers extend outwards flowing down the shoulder and up the side of her head. Maybe that’s why she has such good hearing (on days) because her ear isn’t actually contained in that small area bounded by the helix to the north and the lobe to the south.

Then, two nights ago, I wake up and realise that I forgot to perform the hex against the demons of the ear, and sprinkle magic powder around me, and wear garlic because suddnely the side of my head feels like it has a spike being driven through it, right about where my ear canal used to be. For those of you who haven’t had a spike driven through the side of your head at the location of your ear canal, I think it would be about as painful as having caught an ear infection from your wife.  I took a small silo’s worth of pain pills and tried to get back to sleep. I also got one of those hot pads and put it on my pillow, with my head/ear on it, which seemed to make it feel a little better.  In the morning it wasn’t as bad, it had reduced to approximately a dull ache. And I went to work.

I was pretty good about keeping myself dosed up so the ear didn’t slow me down. I took some before bed as well.

Then that guy with the hammer and spike is back, and this time, he’s starting to do damage. I wake up, and my ear is all wet inside. i keep reaching in with my finger, and the finger keeps coming out with ear juice on it. It didn’t really cross my mind at the time to taste it, so I’m not really able to tell you what it tasted like.  I’m pretty sure what happened was that the sore throat, plus swollen eustachian tube caused the infection to overwhelm the barrier that is the ear drum.

The most worrisome part of the experience is the anxiety I feel about the low level of hearing I’m at now. I’d hate for it to go any lower than it is. I might have to quit work, or something.. I’m pretty sure that would be tragic.

New Moulds!

Posted: 17/01/2010 by Toby in News

As I was cleaning the bathroom… no wait that’s a different kind of mould.

For all you Americans… mould = mold.

Seriously I have had the worst time getting an earmold for my right ear.  We’re talking 8 different molds, none of which have worked, until now, on number 9. When my audiologist suggested I actually go to where they were making the moulds and discuss with the lab assistant directly, I jumped at the chance.

The guy at the lab was super nice, a kid from New Zealand (I actually recognised the accent). He was able to see my ear, and I showed him what the shape needed to look like, and so on.

The only disappointment overall was that I could not get white. One of the reasons that the moulds were not right was the fact that the lab kept sending back white, but a very tough material, not soft. It wasn’t until recently the audiologist here finally found out that the soft material doesn’t come in white, so I had to opt for a different color.  So I chose blue.

Clouseau Moment

Posted: 07/04/2009 by Toby in Funny
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Yesterday morning staff meeting. I am explaining that a document went to so-and-so, she’s got it, and will get it out, and she’s going to do the wordsmithing required.

Boss: Woodsmithing?

Me: What?

Boss: You said she’s going to do the ‘woodsmithing’?

Me: Oh yes, wordsmithing, looking for key words or phrases that throw a red flag, and then taking them out.

Everything makes NOISE

Posted: 23/01/2009 by Toby in Informative
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Actually that title could also be written EVERYTHING makes noise.

I’m the happy owner of two brand new hearing aids. They’re Phonak Versata SP, and pretty small, smaller than I expected.

As I was working through all the best settings with the audiologist, I realized that there’s such a thing as too many options. There’s so much tweaking she can do in there, it’s amazing.

Now that i have worn them for a couple days I realize two things: One, this cold couldn’t come at a worse time, because I’m coming down with the glorious germ that our part time preschooler brought home. It’s making it harder for my ears to adjust to the greater volume and additional non essential information. My ears were so sore the first night. Two, I’m now officially an old man. I don’t want to hear any more of that damn noise besides people talking. These hearing aids pick up every little noise, and the worst of it is that any percussive noise, such as a fork clacking on a plate, or a cabinet closing is instantly translated to default gunshot sound within the hearing aid processor. It’s like having one of those firecrackers go off next to your ear. The difficulty here is that while yes, I do want to hear everything, the hearing aid simply isn’t up to the sophistication of the natural ear in that it cannot give me the 3 dimensional hearing that hearing people have. A small sound is in its place to the natural ear, whereas to the hearing aid, it’s given the same value as all the rest of the sounds, unless it can somehow evaluate it for importance.

Don’t get me wrong the hearing aid is pretty darn cool. I’ll just be adjusting everything down on my next visit.

We’ll get pictures here in a day or two. Heck, it took me several days just to get this written up and posted.

Listening in the Dark

Posted: 14/11/2008 by Toby in Other
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This week I was reminded how glad I am to have what little hearing I have left. What would have been a big deal with sign language was not a big deal with me and my hearing aids.

I was sitting in a meeting down in Ingleside, Texas, where they have a Navy base, and the power went out completely. The gentleman who was about to present his powerpoint (c)TM slides was suddenly standing in complete darkness because the room lights and the projector all simultaneously went off, and the UPS connected to the PC likewise went off, emitting beeping sounds, letting us know that it wasn’t getting any juice from the wall socket.

The first thing we could see were several cell phones. I pulled mine out and waved it in the air a couple of times because.. it must have been instinct? Either instinctively trying to make a joke of the situation, or instinctively reverting to rock concert mode, I’m not sure which. I suspected the former would be construed as the latter and quickly and sheepishly put the phone back in my pocket.

The presenter decided not to let this faze him. A few people had stepped out to the hallway where there was still sunlight from the exit doors, trying to forget they were just reminded that the room had no windows whatsoever. Enough people remained, I think they heartened each other, I know they did me. If they had all got up I think I would have too. How’s that for herd mentality? And they say I march to my own drum. I now scoff at such accusations.

As the speaker started, without the aid of the powerpoint (c)TM slides behind him (although amazingly, he was the ONLY one who brought a few printed copies, and he had just distributed them to the front table, so we were able to read along by cell-u-light if we wanted), I was instantly aware that a deafy would be TOAST. As I listened through the gloom, and as my eyes adjusted, I fully appreciated that my ears made no adjustment whatsoever. The sound was as crystal clear with or without lights. Helpful also was the fact that the presenter had a really wonderful voice. I hope he’s not reading this, but I happen to like his voice. It’s easy to understand, and it sounds rich and deep, but mellow and soothing at the same time. I think his voice gives him more credibility than he deserves, sometimes.

One of the guys on base must have gone to get a sitrep, and came back about 5 minutes into the presentation in the dark. He said the transformer for that building had tripped, and he didn’t know how long before lights came up. A few know-it-alls predicted the outage would last for the rest of the day. I hope those know-it-alls aren’t reading this either. The lights actually came back approximately 20 minutes later.

The incident only produced one potentially life threatening situation that I know of, in the bathroom.

Visible Disability

Posted: 18/04/2008 by Toby in Other
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When I was a young lad, I remember being in a classroom setting, the topic was disabilities. I can’t remember what grade, nor how many kids were there with me. The teacher was making the point that blind people have a slight advantage because their disability is much more noticeable, they wear dark glasses and carry a cane, the cane being the most obvious marker of blindness. By being noticeable, of course, this meant that other people, who could see, would watch out for them, and help when needed.

I remember thinking my big floppy over-the-ear hearing aids were pretty obvious, but I tried to see the teacher’s point.

I now reject her point, and I say deaf people should wear hearing aids the way blind people carry their canes. Hearing aids should be bright colored and obvious, so that others easily recognize that the person they’re talking to does not hear as ubiquitously as they do. That yes, some effort will have to be made, like speaking clearly, repeating oneself, or adding gestures to get the point across. I’ll add one caveat, and that is, old people who are clearly past their prime, who were once hearing have heard it already, will be less put out by careless communication. Also in that vein, it’s expected, the possibility that old people lose their hearing as a natural course, and isn’t quite as upsetting to their younger, hearing, speakers.