In terms of becoming deaf, I have now been working for some time on becoming a hearing person again. Mostly it has been about taking my life back, but at the same time, my auditory senses are getting better and more used to the new situation. As becoming deaf was a traumatic, frustrating, depressing and exhausting experience, starting to hear again is a different story. Of course, many of the side-effects of becoming deaf are not gone by far, but they become more and more manageable. And that leads to different perspectives and new insights.
I just published the last (previous) post on this blog, adding pictures, links and fixing layout. The link to the Wiki-article about Migraine Aura also contains a list of symptoms, whic I found extremely interesting. In fact, it might yield some clues to my condition that I did not know before.
In an overall sense, it might seem likely that a condtion as migraine might have been mistaken as symptoms of becoming deaf for several years. My mother has migraine, so I am genetically predisposed. But now, with the right ear CI starting to function as a normal ear, it’s perhaps time to investigate further… That process begins here:
Self-diagnosis regarding the Migraine Aura:
This list is taken (copied) from this source, and are the symptoms I experience:
(the other symptoms have been removed)
- Distortions in the size or shape of objects
- Vibrating visual field
- Tunnel vision
- Kaleidoscope effects on visual field
- Heightened sensitivity to light
- Hearing voices or sounds that do not exist: true auditory hallucinations
- Modification of voices or sounds in the environment: buzzing, tremolo, amplitude modulation or other modulations
- Heightened sensitivity to hearing
- Someone speaking at a level and normal tone sounds like they are shouting loudly
- Heightened sensitivity to smell
- Feelings of déjà vu or confusion
- Feeling as if one has to eat or go to the bathroom
- Feeling as if you are getting warmer or overheating
- Sudden Perspiration
- Weakness, unsteadiness
- Being unable to understand or comprehend spoken words during and after the aura
- Temporary amnesia, such as forgetting how to do tasks you have been doing for years
Prodromal symptoms occur in 40–60% of those with migraines. This phase may consist of altered mood, irritability, depression or euphoria, fatigue, yawning, excessive sleepiness, craving for certain food (e.g. chocolate), stiff muscles (especially in the neck), dizziness, hot ears, constipation or diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, and other visceral symptoms. These symptoms usually precede the headache phase of the migraine attack by several hours or days, and experience teaches the patient or observant family how to detect a migraine attack is near.
For the 20–30% of migraine sufferers who experience migraine with aura, this aura comprises focal neurological phenomena that precede or accompany the attack. They appear gradually over five to 20 minutes and generally last fewer than 60 minutes. The headache phase of the migraine attack usually begins within 60 minutes of the end of the aura phase, but it is sometimes delayed up to several hours, and it can be missing entirely (see silent migraine). The pain may also begin before the aura has completely subsided. Symptoms of migraine aura can be sensory or motor in nature.
Visual aura is the most common of the neurological events, and can occur without any headache. There is a disturbance of vision consisting often of unformed flashes of white and/or black or rarely of multicolored lights (photopsia) or formations of dazzling zigzag lines (scintillating scotoma, often arranged like the battlements of a castle, hence the alternative terms "fortification spectra" or "teichopsia"). Some patients complain of blurred or shimmering or cloudy vision, as though they were looking at an area above a heated surface, looking through thick or smoked glass, or, in some cases, tunnel vision and hemianopsia.
The somatosensory aura of migraine may consist of digitolingual or cheiro-oral paresthesias, a feeling of pins-and-needles experienced in the hand and arm, as well as in the nose-mouth area on the same side. The paresthesia may migrate up the arm and then extend to involve the face, lips and tongue.
Other symptoms of the aura phase can include auditory, gustatory or olfactory hallucinations, temporary dysphasia, vertigo, tingling or numbness of the face and extremities, and hypersensitivity to touch.
The really intereseting part, for me, is the one pertaining Auditory changes. This enters the territory of tinnitus, and working my way through this list, I start to look forward to seeing an expert neurologist. I already have been to an eye expert, which in turn forwarded me to Rikshospitalet and an expert in neurology for further examination. Receival of transfer has been confirmed, now I just wait for a proper appointment. Who knows when that will be. I’m not holding my breath, and besides, I have other things on my schedule right now
I expect the sound to be easier to work with, of course. Getting stereo again will be sweet
Maybe (hopefully) the effect of tinnitus will lessen, since my implanted right ear was the worst one, also in terms of tinnitus, before the first surgery, and the left ear has been resting for 2 years now. The left ear might very well become my best CI-ear.
I still hear thumps, firecrackers, airbombs (new years eve fresh in mind ) jetplanes, bass from loud music and trucks on my left ear, so the auditory nerve is very much intact.
Will be a whole new process, of course, with the benfit of the right ear having paved the way for the altered sound signatures of all sounds around me in everyday life. Also the stereo will add the benefit of my brains capability to calculate the location and distance of any given sound or voice, in all kinds of sound environments…
Really looking forward to that process, and most of all, getting to a point where I can actually rest comfortabley on my auditory sense instead of working hard on it and / or compensate with lip-reading, mind-reading, guessing etc.
Going from a fight of survival to a process of healing
Is this the transition from fighting for my life, my sanity, health and hearing, to actually start to heal? It might very well be the case. It feels like the previous oncoming deafness, the struggle to get proper help and the road back finally is starting to pay off. This of course, gives me a tremendous boost in morale, and will affect not only myself, but my whole family and everyone else I love and care for.
I have thought about the day I can work on honing my social skills, and to be with people without having to resort to coping mechanisms like withdrawal from pleasant/interesting company (self-isolating), turning off sound, “tuning out” (looking the other way, seemingly uninterested) etc. It will maybe have to be a conscious effort on my part, to change my (socially negative, but (previously) personally essential) coping habits in order to adapt to the new reality of having two working ears again.
The human body, including the human psyche, is a tremendously complex biological machine, and I am certain that there is a lot more improvement in store for me in my life and in my health, as I now await the final phase of my return to the hearing world (100%).
I can’t wait