Sunday, March 18, 2012
OF ALL THE THINGS I'VE LOST
In fairness to menopause, of course, I cannot blame tinnitus (ringing in the ear and accompanying hearing loss) on my lack of estrogen, although chances are there is a study out there somewhere that does.
There are hearing aids designed especially to help those suffering from tinnitus, but they are soooo expensive. I've done price comparisons, and per my budget, it appears I may be able to afford an old fashioned ear horn.
My husband blames my tinnitus on all my years of listening to the car radio at blaring decimals that can break sound barriers let alone ear drums. However, he is wrong, as my ENT guy once told me that if that were the case, it would most likely be my right ear (closer to the car radio, duh) than my left ear.
Actually, I can trace the beginning of my tinnitus to a rather loud office Christmas party about four years ago after which the annoying buzzing began and has since increased. I have tried white noise machines, but the sound of a babbling brook or a steady rain lulling me to sleep only served to make me have to go to the bathroom again (another menopausal delight). Ergo, bye-bye white noise machine.
A fan is great as a tinnitus antidote because it also serves as the occasional hot flash eliminator. However, the fan has to be positioned so close to my head in order to drown out the buzzing (think Bells of St. Mary some nights), that I end up freezing my face off.
Bottom line, I have had to learn to live with the tinnitus just as I have had to learn to live with the lack of sleep that naturally accompanies THE CHANGE (sounds like one of those horror flicks from back in the day...THE FOG).
Meanwhile, I have taken to reading peoples' lips, and I tend to squint my eyes while doing so, focusing intently on said lips, even if I am but a few feet from them. (OK, so add eyesight to the list of things I miss at my interesting age. Ack.).
Lip reading usually works like a charm, save for when getting a mani-pedi where the good folks who attach and dremel-tool my perfectly formed fake nails to my fingertips wear surgical masks to avoid breathing in the toxic acrylic fumes, thus hiding their lips and ruining any chance of me understanding a damn thing they are saying.
For example, their instructive "Hold your fingernails up to the light bulb to dry" I can only translate as "humyrfgrsndrltblbtdri". Fortunately, having had more than one mani, I basically know what I am supposed to do.
The real problem these days lies in hearing and understanding what my family and my co-workers are saying to me. And they generally don't wear masks. They are all starting to sound to me like they are talking with marbles in their mouths. I end up doing a lot of nodding and smiling and praying I am not nodding and agreeing to something I shouldn't.
We have, for sometime now, instituted at our house the hard and fast rule of no talking to each other from another room. I mean, if you are going to talk to me from another room, you might as well be standing in front of me wearing a mask. Humorous aside: even when my husband forgets and tries to talk to me from another room, I automatically squint while he's talking as if that will fine tune my hearing from afar. Crazy.
Yeah, I'm thinking an ear horn may be the way to go.
Hold on. I'm in the living room, and my husband is talking rather excitedly to me from the kitchen. Pardon me for a moment while I squint.
"Get off the dang laptop, there's still laundry to do before we drive Daniel back to school (see yesterday's blog post for reference) and I'm busy cooking breakfast."
Heard that. Loud and clear. No ear horn required.