You know how Iron Chef has Battle Mushroom or Battle Egg? And how everyone in Kitchen Stadium watches in awe as the Iron Chef and his challenger create amazing plates of food art to be judged by a panel of people who haven’t been hungry for six months?
Well, I’m doing Battle Ear. In this contest, I am deciding whether to chart a graceful course into what my husband so lovingly calls my ‘descent into deafness’ or become a hot-wired queen of technology where, in addition to two hearing aids, I might have some magnetic coil thing hanging around my neck and FM receiver systems to deal with groups of people. When the wonderful audiologist at the Center for Communication, Hearing, and Deafness told me that I could qualify for DVR assistance, I knew I’d stepped into a new and very different little puddle.
So Step #1 in my own Kitchen Stadium challenge was to go see a doctor at Froedtert who is widely known as the best ear guy in town. Now, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctors are good but you have to realize (and this was news to me, too) that they split their loyalties three ways. If you’ve got a serious problem with your ears, you need to see a guy who only loves ears and not noses and throats. Remember that, everyone. It might come in handy someday.
So I was waiting in his exam room this morning, reading the citation that named him ONE OF THE BEST DOCTORS IN THE U.S. and going through a very long article about an innovative implant plus hearing aid procedure that achieved great hearing improvements but required an hour long drilling of a hole behind one’s ear.
Ok, I thought. I’m really not keen on surgery, general anesthetic and all that, not to mention the skull drilling. But I figured if that’s what it took, I could do that. Damn, I thought, that would have to give a person one hell of a headache.
So the super doctor in love with ears came in the room and asked the same questions I’d already answered on the intake form. No to every other health problem besides hearing. That’s good, right? That’s a blessing. I’m into counting them lately.
Anyway, so he begins the examination. Has me turn my head one way and then another, have my eyes follow his finger, clench and unclench my teeth. And then he takes this incredibly high tech instrument out.
He thrums the tuning fork and holds it behind my ear and then next to my ear. “Can you hear this?” “Can you hear this?”
Seriously. And that was it.
Now I’ve been to audiologists so I have a stack of charts about the nature of my hearing loss but no one knows the cause.
That’s why I came to the best EAR GUY in Milwaukee. The Ear Whisperer!!!!!
Anyway, after his laying on of hands, he stood back, looked at me and said, “It’s hereditary. Doesn’t have anything to do with your age or anything else. It’ll probably get worse for a while and then stabilize. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
This sentence made me happy. First, no skull drilling in store for me. Second, it’s not about my age. I have hearing loss and I am aging but they are not causally related and I like that because the other battle in my personal Kitchen Stadium is Battle Age.
The underlying theme here is lucky. Lucky I don’t have some terrible disease that’s causing my hearing loss. Lucky I have the health insurance to see a Best in America doctor (even if he does use an 18th century diagnostic tool). Lucky to have the cash to pay for all this hearing technology. And, finally, lucky to be able to look forward to being hot-wired.
That’s not so bad.
If you have hearing loss, these folks are top of the line in terms of expertise and support: Center for Communication, Hearing and Deafness www.cchdwi.org
I’ve written about my hearing loss in another post http://reds-wrap.com/2012/03/28/sweet-nothings-in-my-ear/.