I have a rhetorical question: If you could improve your quality of life, how far would you go?
If you were told by an ENT specialist surgery could improve your hearing by 80 per cent or you could purchase hearing aids instead, which option would you choose?
Or would you choose to do nothing because what you don’t know can’t hurt you?
I elected for surgery in both inner ears, performed by Dr. Jane Lea 18 months apart, which has given me perfect hearing for the first time in my life.
I did not use the term “restored hearing” because I never knew what it was like to hear perfectly until now.
Throughout my childhood I had difficulty hearing, though it wasn’t until age 12 the severity of it which hit me over the head like a fallen tree.
Actually, that’s exactly what happened. A cut birch tree had landed on me because I couldn’t hear the words, “Get out of the way.”
It was too late, the tree had fallen on my back; I heard the chainsaw but not the shouts to warn me. Looking back now after surgery to both ears, I realize that was the key moment.
I’d thought for years it was my sinuses affecting gradual hearing impairment and there was nothing I could do about it.
I simply dismissed it and learned to get by on what hearing I had, which wasn’t much compared to what I have now.
As I got older, the distraction of ambient noise was making it harder to focus on people talking.
Absorbing conversations was becoming difficult to the point it was affecting my quality of life.
I coped with my hearing loss by asking people to speak louder, learning to read lips or pretending I could hear, to not embarrass myself.
If somebody laughed after saying something, I would laugh too, or nod thoughtfully after a pregnant pause in the conversation.
I eventually realized invasive inner ear surgery requiring four weeks of post-op rest was a better option than maintaining the status quo.
Dr. Lea diagnosed me two years ago with otosclerosis, a genetic disorder that occurs when one of the bones in the middle ear, the staples, becomes stuck.
In that state it is unable to vibrate, rendering sound unable to travel through the ear.
I decided to have Stapedotomy surgery even though I was nervous that something (everything?) would go wrong. I’m so glad to be able to hear!
What a fascinating world I’ve been missing – I hear sounds most people take for granted.
You may not notice the sound your feet make walking in dried leaves but I think it’s pretty cool.
Sirens can be painful but birds in trees and the wind are like music.
This reminded me of watching the TV series, Bionic Woman back in the day while growing up.
It was one of my favorite shows because the character Jaime Summers, played by Lindsay Wagner was bionic.
In her story, she was a professional tennis player who had a skydiving accident in which she was critically injured.
It was decided to “install” bionic parts which gave her superhuman strength and a bionic right ear, which she used to listen in on the bad guys.
I may not have bionic powers but it feels like it with implants in my ears.
It is an incredible feeling to hear without straining and feeling tired afterwards.
By now you can tell, the operations were successful and leaving the hospital, I could hear my feet hit the floor. It was surreal!
And when someone says something in conversation, followed by laughing, I don’t laugh too unless I really think it was funny.
Christine Blanchette is the host of RunWithIt on Youtube – check it out!!