just how deaf am I then?

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Today my post on the hearing loss poll had an anonymous comment asking what the extent of my hearing loss is, and could I post an audiogram as “the readers” wanted to know. This has stirred up some uncomfortable feelings in me on a few levels. I’ll try to explain

I often feel that I have to justify having a hearing loss. Sometimes I think I am making a fuss about nothing and that I am just being thick, that I could hear if only I was sharper, more intelligent, paid attention more, concentrated, tried harder. Other time I think that I really am profoundly deaf and that others just don’t realise how little I hear, how hard it is, how hard I try.

This more or less sums up why I started this blog, to try and come to terms with my hearing loss, and to try to educate others about hearing loss and how if affects people.

Even though I have been accepted for a cochlear implant, and in spite of many audiologists telling me that I have a profound and complicated loss I still feel somehow at fault for not being able to communicate easily. That I could hear better if I tried, that I should be able to lipread more easily. Even though at my CI assessment I scored only 38% in the HINT test, and this was more than they expected from someone with an audiogram such as mine.

Audiologists have told me that my hearing loss is hard to correct, because of the good low frequency range. I’ve sometimes wondered if some selective noise pollution could be used to destroy that hearing so that it wouldnt get in the way of the hearing aid amplification. My last audiologist looked horrified when I said that, but you feel desperate. Life with a hearing loss can be a bloody struggle at times, and it leaves a few scars.

Well I do have an audiogram somewhere. I posted it on Sara’s blog with her collection. That made me feel better as it was nestling in there down at the bottom. Its the grey line that starts high, drops down rapidly and goes up again. (that reminds me of the Monty Python Dinosaur sketch – no captions but the script is here )

But what the heck, here it is in numbers
Un Aided – both ears are pretty much the same.
Hz dB
250 -30
500 -55
750 -95
1000 -100
2000 -110
3000 -120
4000 -120
6000 -105
8000 -90

So there it is, Anonymous, is this what you wanted to know? BTW I’m curious about why is was an anonymous post on behalf of a others. I am uncomfortable with that and would prefer it if you would identify yourself. Send me a message and I won’t publish it if you don’t want me to.

PS, Dear Readers, πŸ˜‰ please vote in the poll if you haven’t already.

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11 responses »

  1. hi mog

    i just managed to loose my whole comment in cyberspace and don’t feel like retracing my thoughts…

    therefore just a virtual hug from a ‘reader’ with normal hearing who does not feel represented by that person but is thankful for your insight into the hoh-world.

    all the best from vancouver island
    g.

  2. This post stirred up some anger in me – at anonymous. I completely understand your feelings Mog and I’m continuing to be really miffed at the things people do that raise the kinds of doubts you talked about. With that said, I want to share an interesting experience I had the day I qualified for the cochlear implant.

    The audi that qualified me had an audio file on his computer that was able to simulate what I was hearing at the time, with hearing aids I might add. He played it for my husband and daughter that were with me that day. My daughter said it sounded like a lawnmower and my husband was shocked that I managed to add lipreading to the noise I was hearing and figure out words. I think it really got to him because on the way home he added, “We are going to find a way to fix this,” with such intense sincerity that I knew he was quite disturbed. Two people that lived with me and I thought knew what I couldn’t hear were totally shocked by a demonstration. So what does an audiogram tell anyone but the professional really?

    Don’t doubt yourself. I’m sure you do the best you can with what you have. It is more likely the case that you do so well with what you have, that professionals like your audi are surprised at how well you do. You qualified for the cochlear implant – you have to be severe to profoundly deaf to do that!

    Anonymous, what qualifies you to ask such a question?

  3. lol, oh I do love it when someone speaks for me, on my behalf, I’m that sort of woman you know.
    πŸ˜‰

    I don’t really understand the numbers on audiograms… not even my own chart. I see the ‘normal’ line and my line that takes a nose dive at some point. I’m perfectly satisfied not understanding or knowing about numbers.

    I prefer to understand people’s subjective experience of hearing loss as proof enough of their hearing loss. I care more about your experience Mog, how you feel, cope, get rattled, get angry, find positives, humour… etc… you don’t need to justify one iota with me.

    Although, I am curious about one set of numbers: What is your idea of a good gin to tonic ratio? I quite like them almost half and half, flavour wise but I also like to guzzle them (when it’s hot out)… and that’s not a sustainable combo. Any suggestions for a sustainable gin:tonic ratio?

    (this might be a double post… or triple!)

  4. Hugs to you Mog. I hate receiving comments that make me feel like that. It’s a downside of blogging.

    Im also one of those who “does So well!” people I work with always tell me they “forget 95% of the time.” Of course this is very frustrating because if they made an effort it would help a lot.

    I worked with a Deaf man who only used ASL at work and was comfortable and secure with the same coworkers as me. Nobody ever forgot he was deaf. Sometimes it seemed that that could be easier.

    I agree with Glenice about the simulated hearing loss recordings. They are eye openers. On a related note, there are some online based on one of the HINT sentences that helped me decide to do the CI. The similated post-CI sentence sounded weird to me but to my hearing boyfriend it sounds tons better than the “profound loss with hearing aids” clip.

  5. I understand what you mean about feeling uncomfortable posting your audiogram – like you had to prove something. I posted mine on my blog some time back and felt like it was a risky move. I thought that perhaps my loss wasn't "enough" of one to be accepted in the deaf/hoh community.

    I have people comment when I explain that I have a hearing loss that they would never have been able to tell. Of course when they say this, we are conversing in a quiet room which is under ideal conditions for me. Try it again in a noisy restaurant and it should be obvious enough.

    What they don't get is that I work damn hard at creating the illusion that I can hear. I concentrate much more than the average listener. Of course this is tiring and if you aren't saying anything of importance I may give up on the conversation. A G&T would probably come in handy then. πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you all for you supportive comments. It's good to know it's not just me, if you see what I mean.

    I have used the online hearing loss simulations, Phonak have some good ones. There's also the "unfair hearing test" which I use when I give a deaf awareness presentation. That's usually an eye opener for people.

    When I briefly went to ASL classes one of the teachers had been for CI assessment and had been turned down, she said it was because "she wasn't deaf enough" her audiogram wasnt as bad as mine, but she had had that hearing loss since childhood and so was Deaf. People accepted her deafness more than mine, she always had an interpreter and yet she could hear more than I could. So I take your point about people not forgeting that an ASL user is deaf. It's more obvious.

    I found my audiogram from when I was diagnosed and given hearing aids. Again, both ears much the same.
    Hz dB
    250 10
    500 20
    1000 60
    2000 50
    3000 50

    So maybe I'm not so bad at lipreading and coping after all.

    G&Ts, in my opinion, should be a quarter gin, before you put the ice in, and then tonic. Tanqueray is the gin to use and Schweppes tonic. In the summer drink Martinis for liquor and water for fluid. Saves getting that uhoh feeling too early.

  7. About these hearing loss simulations… can people post some links? I would appreciate it!

    Cheers for the ratios! πŸ˜‰

  8. I’ve never posted my audiogram. I don’t know why, I just never did.

    I don’t know who anoynomous is…but there comment was a bit strange. I was receiving those sorts of comments on a religious level a few weeks back and the wife fixed it so I couldn’t get them anymore.

    Hugs to you…don’t let some dum-dum head make you feel uncomfortable. You never have to justify yourself to me, you are who you are and that’s pretty cool. πŸ™‚

  9. Hey Mog,

    Not sure how you found my blog, but I’m so glad you did. As an audiologist, and looking at what you posted for your hearing loss, you should not feel that you need to justify anything. However, you and I are quite similar. I have a CI in one ear, and am a candidate in the other ear, however, I like you score well in that second ear (very high percentage on HINT). I still feel I do really well with that ear, so I’m not sure. I feel like I’m a fake sometimes because I do so well with what I have to work with. For this I feel very fortunate. I look forward to reading your blog in the future! Hope to hear from you soon.

  10. Hey Mark, glad you found the blog too. I take your point about being fortunate in coping well with what we have. Must remember that one. Though I thought 38% was rather low as the qualifying “mark” is 60% in Canada, 50% in the UK. Is there a set one for the US?

  11. I try to cope as best as I can with my hearing loss also. Some days I feel so frustrated at the world, the people in it, myself. Other times, I just don’t care.

    I do the best that I can with what I have and I’m sure you do the same.

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