My hearing has deteriorated so slowly that I never even realized it was happening. I knew it was happening, but as far as I'm concerned I hear just as well as I did five years ago. But... I really don't. I mean, I really don't. Here's a picture of my very first audiogram back in 2012 when I'd never heard of Meniere's disease compared to an audiogram from July of 2016:
The truth is, even after the latest audiogram I didn't feel as hard of hearing as I am on paper. My right ear being healthy naturally has a lot to do with why I feel that way, but still. I never noticed how bad my left ear had gotten. Every now and then I would pay attention to it and take advantage of certain aspects of my hearing loss, but I never thought about it any further. You know what I mean?
I'm getting a hearing aid for my left ear sometime this spring, which ought to make things a bit easier for me, since I don't do so well in crowds, classrooms, and other noisy environments. Did you know that even with one good ear hearing in relatively quiet environment can be challenging? If the sound is coming from your bad side, you will automatically lose 25 decibels of that sound as it travels to your good ear. So having one good ear does not necessarily mean that you can hear well and get by without a hearing aid. Some people do, some don't, and of course the amount of hearing loss is the main factor.
Anyway, I have learned to take the best out of my own hearing loss. I know it may sound weird, but I've grown very used to being hard of hearing, and after the initial shock of realizing I'm actually getting a hearing aid (which I thought wouldn't happen until further down the line), I feel comfortable in my current situation. Here are some things that hearing loss makes easier for me:
Sleeping. If there's noise, I just sleep with my good side against the pillow, and that will drown most of the noise. I once had a friend visit who would take a shower every morning while I was still sleeping, and every time she did so, I would make sure I was sleeping with my bad ear out, and good ear against the pillow. I heard nothing, and I was sleeping just on the other side of the bathroom wall! My friend came out and was always surprised to find me fast asleep.
Car travel. I can't hear you well enough to figure out what you're saying, if I'm in the backseat and you're in the front. This gives me leverage - shotgun forever!
Dealing with little annoyances. Mosquitos, clock ticking, whispering... I've never liked it when I'm being whispered to, and now I can't deal with it at all, even if someone whispering to me is on my good side. I can't distinguish the words at all. So it's easy for me to put a stop to it immediately. I hear mosquitos and the clock tick with my good ear, but I can also tune them out super easy.
Lastly... I kinda like being hard of hearing. I don't even know why. I'm not the attention seeking kind, I don't enjoy being in the limelight. But I genuinely don't mind being hard of hearing, probably because it has opened my eyes to a lot of new things, and I'm enjoying these new aspects of my life. And the reason I'm blogging about this is that I believe this is an important matter that needs more visibility. Meniere's disease isn't being researched enough because it's not a life threatening disease. Dizziness is still the number one compliance doctors hear from their patients, and not much is being done to treat it. I hope more people would speak up.
Are you deaf or hard of hearing? What are your perks?