Friday, January 26, 2007

Getting there the easy way?

As someone that wants to have more than a little hearing loss Marie desperately clings to any hearing loss (induced or 'natural') with a great deal of hope.

And so Marie notes that she does have a slight (mostly low frequency) hearing loss. Marie's partner (whom she will call 'Casey' and use gender neutral ponouns so as to not reveal hir gender) works in an office and hir coworkers are male. One day Marie went to Casey's office as part of that day's plan. Marie noticed that she had a very difficult time understanding her partner's male coworkers.

Backing up before that day Marie and her partner flew to America (they live in the UK) and at the airport Marie couldn't understand the man asking security questions ("Has Marie packed her bags? Has Marie been given anything to carry by strangers?" and so forth). Luckily Casey was there with her to answer the questions! After they passed through security Casey told Marie that "Maybe you need hearing aids!!" Marie admits that she had trouble not jumping up and saying "Yes! Marie knows she wants hearing aids" but she used that as an 'in' to start pursuing her goal of hearing aids.

Marie's partner Casey does not know of Marie's wishes to be deaf.

But the thing is Marie genuinely does have hearing issues! She doesn't know the cause of it but she is very curious about it as otology is one of her more obsessive interests.

In December Marie had a private hearing test at a local HA dispenser. She did the test honestly even though fibbing would have put her closer to her goal of acquiring hearing aids. The test indicated the aforementioned hearing loss, but the dispenser wouldn't provide Marie with a copy of the audiogram (Marie didn't actually ask because she was certain the man would figure out that she was deaf wannabe).

Concurrent to that Marie's GP made a referral for her to have her hearing tested by the NHS. She thought that the time to get an appointment would take many months but it turns out that from the time she sought a referral to the time of her scheduled hearing test was only about four months in total.

So now Marie has a hearing test scheduled with the NHS. She's hoping that the ENT will be able to tell her why she has LFHL (low frequency hearing loss) and why she feels dizzy (Marie's GP prescribed SERC for her dizziness).

Marie's research indicates that there are numerous possible diseases such as Ménière's disease, otosclerosis, labrynthitis, and even multiple sclerosis (which her friend Robin might be jealous of). Marie doesn't really care what the cause is (although she's scared of MS!) as long as the ENT will explain to her in detail how it's affecting her.

Marie's current hypothesis regarding her hearing loss is that after she moved to the UK she either contracted an environemntal allergy or an existing one "activated". This allergy gave her a middle ear infection for the Spring months and the fluid buildup became infected (e.g., acute OM) and the bacteria began attacking her ossicles. The repeated scaring to her ossicles is impairing their ability to transfer sound. Effectively otosclerosis. However otosclerosis is a conductive loss and Marie seems to recall that her LFHL was mostly sensorineural (she can't recall the plotting of the conductive graph).

There is also room for Ménière's disease, which would explain the balance issues and LFHL.

It's hard not to speculate but Marie has told herself that she will not jump to conclusions and tell herself that she definitely has Ménière's since it isn't good to get her hopes up (if one can be happy about progressing to severe balance disorder). She wants to let the doctors figure out what's going on with her hearing loss; she hopes that she won't have to induce hearing loss with high power horns and personal security devices. She wants to lose her hearing passively as it's easier to explain to family and doctors.

Marie will post soon about whether or not to fib on February's hearing test since she hasn't decided if she wants to look at her current auditory issues or get hearing aids soon!


Anonymous said...

Do you mind if I ask why you want to be deaf? What is there about hearing aids that seems to me to be the "turn-on", if you like, that makes you want to wear them?

wishtobedeaf said...

It isn't a turnon like a fetish for Marie to wear hearing aids (or to want to, at this point) but rather it's the ability to control what (and when) she hears that is the attraction to hearing aids.

As for "Why?" - Marie has various sensory issues, one of which is sound. She can cope with constant noise such as music but other sources of noise such as conversation when the speech isn't distinguishable (think: pub with 30 people talking at once) can lead to sensory overload. She also has problems with unexpected noises like firecrackers.

Those are practical reasons. They're easy to list (but probably don't make sense to anyone but her).

Impractical ones are such as that Marie prefers nonverbal communication. Indeed when she is stressed Marie finds it difficult to talk. If she was deaf it'd be easier to rationalise to others why she doesn't speak (even though it would be a post-lingual acquired deafness!). Further, and most basically, Marie strongly believes that having such a hearing loss as she stated before would generally improve her life.

Anonymous commenter, you have actually pre-empted a post dealing with this topic. Marie may still post about the topic - she has a lot to "get off her chest" since she's just started this blog.