So I’ve been hard of hearing all my life. People are usually shocked to find out I’m a musician and a DJ but if you stop and think about it – isn’t that really the most logical thing for me to end up doing? Where else would I get to turn up music so loud that its impossible NOT to hear it?
this baby goes to 11!
Anyways I digress. When I was a kid both my ears had equal hearing loss – about 40% loss. I had hearing aids in both earning me the not so creative nickname “Four Ears” in school. I remember sarcastically calling one of those kids “Three Arms” referring to the cast on his broken arm, winning me the sort of scorn you give kids who dropkick kittens. I guess making fun of someone who is injured isn’t acceptable. I still think its funny.
I had corrective surgery on my left ear when I was six where they went in my inner area and put a teflon prosthesis on my Stapes. My mom swears they CUT OFF MY EAR and folded it back to access my inner ear and I insist something else entirely.
I insist that my mom is completely insane.
It didn’t happen. Not only would I remember them CUTTING MY EAR OFF, there would probably be other things like…. oh scars ….or maybe memories of the doctor saying something like “now kris, you’ll want to be careful about not touching your ear too much, we had to cut it off to perform this surgery and if you touch it too much it will get infected” any six year old with a hyperactive imagination is not gonna forget that one. I think my mom got my surgery confused with Reservoir Dogs. Bad mom – lay off the Tarantino.
reservoir dog action figures?!?1
However, this first surgery was a failure, my hearing stayed the same and then slowly deteriorated to profound near-deaf levels. As a testament to the adaptability of humans I grew used to being half deaf (I missed the key and typed half-dead on accident and then wondered if that was a Freudian slip =)
I adapted quite well learning to mildly read lips, figure out what people were saying by context and preferring loud and outspoken friends. Everyone used to wonder why I hung out with so many assholes. Now you know. Assholes are usually loud. I can’t be more than passing acquaintances with mumblers. Not because it bothers me, but after asking someone to repeat themselves 4 or 5 times it starts getting really embarrassing for both parties.
Asshole illustration by Kurt Vonnegut
I have no idea what its like to hear in stereo, and there’s all sorts of cool geeky things that require stereo, binaural beats, nuerofeedback and of course surround sound which I would love to play with if i could.So I had an audiogram recently and was told my nerves in my left ear function just as well as my right, which means that I should be able to hear if my bones were to function properly.
I then went to a inner/middle ear specialist and after a cat scan he shows me this grainy picture with that implant I got as a child. This was the first time he pointed to his diagram and told me with a smile that he likes to think of the implant on the stapes bone of my middle ear as a pirate pegleg.
A pirate pegleg? So, hes gonna cut my ear open and put a pirate pegleg on my bone. Does he have any idea what phrases like that do to my imagination? My inner ear suddenly is filled with parrots and pirates hobbling around with teflon pegs saying silly things like ARRRRR Hang ‘im from the yardarm!
People are walking the planks of my bony incus – there is buried treasure in the cochlea on the frothy seas of the Medulla.
He then offers me a pamphlet for the Baha system which is another option open to me. The Baha system is a hearing aid like device which picks up sound and transduces it and vibrates a circular metal implant in your skull. Wow. PASS!! Im definitely going with the pirates. check out these photos.
So I had this surgery which is referred to as a Stapedectomy last Thursday (Sept 21st, 2007) My ear has been packed up since and I am going for my post op appointment in two more days to find out if I can hear or not. I think its going to be an all at once sort of thing. I’m putting this post on hold until I get the answer
*two days pass*
And the verdict is …
Ok I just got back from the doctors office and had the packing taken out. My hearing IS better than it was before but its not as good as my right ear. I think it needs more time to heal properly and for my brain to get used to it. My totally geeky guess is that after being inactive so long the neuron receptors might need some time to get used to stimuli again. The prognosis is good.. either way if it didn’t improve beyond this it seems that a hearing aid would compensate the difference.
All is good. Im happy just to be able to be able to distinguish sounds in songs in my left ear. I can hear individual sounds which i couldn’t do before but what’s lacking is clarity. A comparison is how a near sighted person might see.. general shapes of things but not distinct details.
Two hours after I wrote that last bit I have to say that my hearing has improved since then.. Sounds are clearer i can hear bass and its less foggy! I’m quite happy and excited!
thanks for reading and leave comments below!