Monday, October 27, 2008

Tinnitus is back again

Click here for accounts of my previous battles with tinnitus

The low roaring sound in my head is driving me batty. I asked my students today if they wouldn't mind keeping their voices low to spare my madness, since the roaring becomes like speaker feedback whenever voices get louder. They tried, and were very kind about it, but it just makes me crazy anyway.

I really wouldn't be a bit surprised if these troubling bouts indicate that I'm getting closer to losing my hearing for good, though. My first experience with hearing loss was actually a personal one -- I had tubes put into my eardrums four separate times as a child because of such frequent ear infections. By age four, when I finally had the first of these procedures, I was almost completely deaf because of the buildup of fluid. When the fluid drained, I could hear the radio in the car. I was startled at the flush of a toilet. It was like a new world had opened up to me.

But at the same time, the grandma I spent so much time with was losing her own hearing. She fiddled with hearing aids and other assist devices, to little avail. I learned to speak very loudly and clearly to her so she could understand me.

Her grandson, my dad, is also losing his hearing... although he never admits as much to any of us.

I'm right behind him. I already have difficulty hearing my students if they're not directly facing me when they speak... particularly if there's any ambient noise like, oh, for instance, the drama class next door. Not that I'm complaining about the drama class -- I'm glad they stuck us together back there in the back part of the building, even though neither of us now has nearly enough room to accomplish what we need to do, because we're rather compatible. If I have to be stuck with little room, I'd want it to be with someone else who has a similar classroom management style.

It doesn't make the tinnitus much better, though. Let's hope I can ride this one out without the assistance of steroids or other meds.

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