From HardOfHearing to deaf – the symptoms

First of all – your audiochart will show that you cannot hear sounds with less than 90 dB in most of the range of where the human voices has their frequencies.

My hearing is almost all below 95 dB. On both ears. The range frequency is from 125 Hz (deep bass) to 8000 Hz (high pitch).

The biggest and most difficult symptom to become aware of, if your hearing slowly degrades like mine, would be the fatigue. I for my part couldn’t understand why I kept becoming so tired. It took many years to understand.

I did everything I could to improve my health over the years. Changed my diet. Exercise (which I have done on and off for more than a decade now, fortunately). Minimized intake of alcohol. Focused on sleep hygiene. The list can go on….

And still I was dead tired… I pushed myself harder, thinking this will pass. Eventually the pushing of myself became a habit, and all of a sudden I had erased my own limits of when to step back and take a breather. This led to a collapse, mentally.

The mental signs would be, of course, the tiredness, followed and accompanied by loss of cognitive skills (I use Su Doku to check my brain to see if I’m able to work them out). One might also try to read a book. If you’re not able to keep the eyes focused and conentrate on the content of what is being read, well, maybe time to relax?… Short term memory becomes worse. (I have learned to cope with it by using strategies like making people send me SMS or e-mails, writing down lists and using a my PIM a LOT!!!)

(A PIM is an akronym for PersonalInformationManager. My PIM is my mobile, I enter all my appointments, names of people I’ve met, numbers, adresses etc. Also my computer is a great tool when also syncronized with my PIM)

Further on with mental symptoms following the fatigue caused by overcompensating for lack of hearing:

Sleep-disturbances has been a big issue for me. A psychologist helped me through that…

Stress-tolerance declines and declines until something is done. This is just like a “burn-out” we hear about when people has been working too hard for too long. With low stress-tolerance, even a trip in the car becomes a huge straining factor. Only to commute to and from work can be so tiring because of the stress that it wears one down even further and harder….

I for my part was also prone to invent strange thoughts about other people. Suspiciousness, mild paranoia, anger towards people I love etc etc. There are many things that can relate to this, and the cause isn’t solely related to the hearing alone. But it has some bearing obviously.

Because the hearing declines, one also becomes more of an outcast in social situations. Being in a place with a lot of people, and almost never understand what everyone is laughing about can be hard to cope with. And when that happens over and over again, it is easy to fall for the temptation of faking that you understand. It’s part of social interaction. It’s normal to want to be part of the group and wnat to interact…

Last but not least (for the time being) is frequent headaches. They’re secondary symptoms to stress and fatigue. Headaches can also be caused by tensions in the body, also muscular and skeletal pains has become big issues concering my health recently.

I write a lot here… I think I have more in store about this, but for now, this is enough, since I’m tired…. (of course 😉  )

Un-hear

How can one describe a permanent condition to someone who does not have that condition? If this condition is all I know, how can I know what the difference is?

The condition I’m speaking of is the residual hearing I have left. Just to be very clear on this matter: I have compared audio-charts with people who are totally deaf. They cannot on their life perceive a sound through the hearing-organ. My chart is basically identical. Yet I can talk to someone in a relatively secluded surrounding almost like a person with a normal hearing. I’m a bit puzzled by this myself.

The fact is that I’m deaf, but I can listen to music, hear sounds on films etc. Now, what do I get from the music? It’s clear that I do not hear what you hear, right? Well, my audio-world is unique, and I am at the brink of total deafness. It’s slow torture.

Right now my head is pounding. An area from just above my ears, going up to the top of my head is pulsating. The pulsating sensation is not like a headache, but it’s very similar. I can sense it down to my teeths and jaws.

I tried listening to music today, and I had to shut it off at once. I just couldn’t bear it. Felt like having stuffed my ear-canal with waxed-cotton, standing inside one of those old phonebooths with a boomblaster at full volume. Too much sound and too little space.

 Today I have a day of relaxation after a weekend with my very energetic and playful 7-year-old son and my girlfriend. The weekends is supposed to be a time of recreation, relaxation and fun. And it was, total bliss, really. Being with the people whom I care for the most in my life, and loving them and they loving me back. But, for me it now feels like I have been through double shifts of hard work all weekend. So now I really feel like I need a weekend after the weekend. It seems I’m good at mobilizing and channeling my strenght to where I need them the most.

I’m still struggling to feel when enough is enough.

Anyway, the sensation in my head does feel more physical than psychological. My ears are practically hurting, and for the first time in my life, it seems that having NO SOUND is the ONLY thing I can do… That is… Well, to be frank, IT SUCKS!!! Up to now I felt like I had a choice; preserve and rest until I need or want to hear. Now it’s just survival.

I know it’s a passing condition. I’ve had the sympthoms before, and they pass and I feel better againg for some time…

Still no reply from the hospital, and I’m growing impatient. I’d like to have something to relate to, like a future date for examination. I also feel reluctant to take any actions on this now. That is a surplus-task.

Change of mindset

After the conclusion was reached, and the first step taken, about taking care of myself and my son in the first hand. I haven’t seen big changes in my life in general, things still go an as they have the last few years, and I don’t feel like I’m in a void or anthing like that…

But, my mindset probably has changed, in the way that I think about how to spend my days.  I will be more around my friends and family, when I feel I have the energy for it… Instead of using my much needed energy to run around in pointless meetings in the bureaucratic system.

I will definitely write more. Maybe it all will result in a book? Who knows 🙂 I will seek out more of my creative ways that I know I have in me, that have never been let out very much before…

I will spend more time outdoor, especially when the weather shows its nice side. And speaking of outdoor-life, I will be a lot at our new Swedish countryside mini-farm, tending the place. Swimming in the lake, fishing, boating, walking, driving around in the old farm-tractor 🙂 plowing old fields, turning them into grass-fields and a nice garden.

And in all this, my hope is that I get more energy for myself, my son and my beautiful girlfriend. Life is about the people in my life. I need to be able to care for them.

Let’s hope the hospital answers my nagging soon…

Hard-to-make-conclusion

It has taken me a long time, and a lot of thinking to come to this conclusion: I can no longer work.

The consequence of working for me is that I keep draining myself for the strenght I really need to take care of myself and my beloved son (aged 7). This is the situation right now.

I don’t like it. I’m scared. But I have to face it. I need to gather strenght for the future process of rehabilitating after the CI-operation, and I need to preserve my strenght as I endure the process of slowly loosing what’s left of my hearing.

Today I took the step. I asked my physician to help me apply for a rehabilitation-program in the  NAV-system (Norwegian Wellfare System). This will take me out of the work-training-programme and into a more long-term programme aimed to get me back to work after the CI-operation.

Hopefully my new strategy will pay off in the long term. Gods know that I have really tried hard, and at the best of my abilities to get into/stay in a job-situation.

I’m too tired to write more today…..