My father lost hearing in his left ear when I was in grade five.  The decline had been gradual, and caused by complications from Ménière’s disease, but the hearing was completely gone by then.  He wore a hearing aid in his “good” ear, and that helped somewhat, but we were still a loud house as a result. Well, louder than the average house with three teenagers was. After a while the noise just blurred, and you didn’t notice it anymore. It was always loud.

It’s somewhat ironic that I am once again living in a loud house.  Willy has been experiencing degeneration in his hearing for the last ten years or so.  It was worse in his left ear, and about five years ago he was diagnosed with a disease called otosclerosis.  Essentially, there is a build-up of protein in and on the stapes bone inside his ear (the stapes is one of the three teeny, tiny bones in your ears).  Over time, the legions prevent the bone from vibrating and transmitting sound.  Hearing loss generally occurs at the middle and lower frequencies first, eventually progressing to the higher frequencies.

Luckily, hearing loss due to otosclerosis is one of few hearing losses that can be effectively treated by surgery (alternate choice is hearing aids).  When Willy was first diagnosed, treatment options were discussed and it was determined that surgery was the best course of action for him. The surgery, a stapedectomy, involves the removal of the stapes bone, and replacing it with synthetic stapes, made of teflon. Apparently, nothing sticks to teflon.  The doctors wanted to perform the surgery on one ear at a time, and his audiogram showed that only his left ear met the threshold for performing the surgery.

The surgery was performed about eight weeks after Goose was born in January of 2009.  The days that followed we a little uncomfortable for Willy; he was dizzy and groggy and wasn’t able to do much other than sleep for eighteen hours a day for the first week (did I mention we had a newborn?!), but was gradually able to return to normal activities, like lifting anything over ten pounds (which included said newborn!) after about three weeks. The recovery was fairly quick and the end results were worth it.  Willy regained his hearing in his left ear, and was much happier.

Four years later, we are where we were before.  The TV is always way too loud for my comfort; loud rooms make it impossible for Willy to hear anything; I speak too quietly for him to hear me; or he is out of earshot when I call, even though out of earshot is in the next room.  It’s frustrating for both of us.  He often just doesn’t hear what I say, but I feel it is too insignificant to repeat, like my under-my-breath mutterings that were of little consequence the first time I said it, or the causal comment about a car that was long gone before I’d repeated the comment once, let alone the two or three times that it might have taken to have it heard.

We have both been waiting anxiously for today. His hearing test was booked months ago, before even we left India.  We knew that it would show that his hearing was bad enough that he would qualify for the surgery, and hoped that it wold “count” as his pre-surgery consultation, and get him one step closer to the surgery. The doctor who had performed his surgery has retired, and the results of the appointment with the new doctor were mixed.  Yes, his hearing loss is well within what is needed for surgery, but he needs to be referred to a surgeon.  The wait could be up to a year, but we hope it will be much shorter. Until then, we wait, in anticipation.

Category: life | 10 comments

  • Capital Mom says:

    Waiting is hard. I hope you hear soon!

  • Kathy says:

    I understand… my mom had this. My mom had this surgery on both ears (at different times) and it made a huge difference. At the time they implanted a stainless steel ‘tuning fork’. Alas, when she caught a cold, it sometimes migrated to her ears and knocked the tuning fork out of alignment so she had to have repeat surgeries. But the hearing gain with the surgery was impressive. However, having been trained to speak loudly as a child so my mother could hear me, I am still loud and often have to remind myself to lower the volume :-)

    I hope the wait time turns out to be short,

    • Lilbunnyrabbitz says:

      WOW, we are grateful that the surgeries have come along. I can’t fathom having to have the surgery repeated times!! Although, if the other option is NOT hearing at all….

      I am certain that my dad’s hearing loss is a large part of why I am still so loud. Hopefully Willy’s surgery is in time to get the lils to lower the volume :) .

  • Neeroc says:

    “I speak too quietly for him to hear me” this made me snort. *G*

    I hope it’s a very short wait for him.

  • Nidhi says:

    I sure do hope the “wait” is short for you guys. I am in the process of looking for a reputable “audiologist” for Ayaan so we can do his bi-yearly check ups but feels like it might be a challenge here. I have some hopes in Delhi if I don’t find one in Bangalore. Good luck with everything guys!

    • Lilbunnyrabbitz says:

      I hope that you can find someone fast!! I know what a pain that can be. Have you tried posting to the OWC list? We got some good recommendations from the members.

      Fingers crossed for you!

  • [...] has been anxiously awaiting the call from his doctor to let him know the date for his ear surgery. His excitement was tempered a little when a January call to the doctor resulted in him being told [...]

  • [...] allowed a brief sigh of relief before we started to prep for Willy’s surgery today.  He had a stapedectomy, an operation that will hopefully restore the hearing in his right ear.  He had this operation [...]

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