It’s A Miracle!

My hearing aid service yesterday turned out to be the fitting of a nice new tube. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a complete dis-assembling of every component under an electron microscope as I’d imagined, but I was also slightly relieved, because that meant no trace of my temporarily removed illegal self-adhesive bling would be found.

“Have you been shown how to clear the tube of wax?” said the hearing aid lady cheerfully, as she noted that my last visit to Clinic O had been in 2010 and I seemed to be somewhat clueless about basic hearing aid maintenance.

“Yes, but I’ve never had to unblock it even once, my ears don’t seem to produce much wax”, I announced proudly. I was glad that cascading cerumen was at least one problem I didn’t have in the hearing aid department. Now that the conversation was flowing, I seized the opportunity to casually drop in my desire for stereo hearing.

“I was wondering if I could try two hearing aids, my sound localisation is absolutely crap”, I opined eloquently, watching carefully for a potentially negative reaction. There wasn’t one, so I pressed on. “I teach a group of fifty students…I can’t tell where voices are coming from in discussions….it’s worse with the hearing aid than without…in fact, I wonder if you can tell me why they’ve given me the aid in the marginally better ear…wouldn’t that accentuate the difference between the two?”

I thought I detected a slight frown. I had to tread carefully.

“Of course, there’s not much difference between the two ears…the right one sounds different to the left one, but the audiograms are similar…” I decided to quit while I was ahead.

“Do you mind if I look in your ears?” said hearing aid lady, reaching for her otoscope after verifying onscreen that both audiograms were indeed similar.

“No, not at all”, I said, glad that things were going so famously.

“Hmmmmmm”, said hearing aid lady, there’s no wax in your tube because it’s all stuck inside your ear canal. The right ear is totally blocked and the left one is partially blocked. I can’t see your right eardrum. You’ll need to get that cleared out.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

“I knew it!” I said, “I always knew there had been a terrible mistake!” My heart soared as I saw myself pictured on the front page of next week’s Metro newspaper. I was clutching a ball of earwax in a specimen tube in one hand, and a no longer required hearing aid in the other. The headline was sensational:  EX-COOKIE BITE WOMAN WEEPS AS SHE HEARS HER BARITONE VOICE FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER GETTING EARS SYRINGED. “ENT CONSULTANT, 3 GPs AND HIGH STREET HEARING CHAIN ALL TOLD ME I HAD CONGENITAL HEARING LOSS, WHEN IT WAS WAX ALL THE TIME” SAYS STUNNED 45 YEAR OLD LECTURER.

“Steady on”, said hearing aid lady without even seeing the front page of the Metro. She was detecting the familiar sound of straws being clutched. “It might not make that much of a difference to your hearing, but it’ll probably make some. Make an appointment with your GP to have the wax removed and then make an appointment with us to see about fitting a second aid.”

8 Responses to “It’s A Miracle!”

  1. 1 Rose February 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Be really interested to know how your pre and post wax removal tests go. The latest excuse for them not to deal with my daughter’s hearing loss is that she has wax that needs removing. It’s not sounding likely that it accounts for her 60dB loss, however, and being young she is not allowed to have it syringed out by anyone other than the children’s hospital. So we wait again.

    • 2 moiradancer February 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      That must be really frustrating for you being passed from pillar to post when your daughter has such a significant loss, hope some of it does turn out to be down to the wax, although the net result is the same and she’s still deaf until it’s actually been removed! I think it’s good that it’s done properly at the hospital, but the waiting is not good, especially for wee ones who’re developing their speech and language so fast.

      I last had a hearing test in June 2012 and I was told my ears were clear of wax back then, but I’m not due for another test until June, so we’ll never know how many decibels the wax accounts for. Being the curious sort, though, I have performed my own ‘before syringing’ hearing threshold tests using the indispensable Equal Loudness site, so I’ll post the results after I’ve been scooshed in the lugs. I must say I’m rather worried about having syringing done at the GPs without knowing who’s doing it and how, but I can always use my highly scientific results for litigation purposes if they have to retrieve my eardrums from my eustachian tubes afterwards 🙂

      Hope your daughter gets a speedy appointment, Rose, keep us posted.

  2. 3 Sara Paton February 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I hope that the wax removal helps some. I am surprised you were not fitted for 2 hearing aids initially. My doctor said that 1 would be a detriment because of the reasons you stated. That being said, I have 2 but I still have problems locating who is talking in my class. Without them I can tell who is talking, but can’t hear what they’re saying very well. I don’t think there is a way to win this one!

    • 4 moiradancer February 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      I think I didn’t notice that my right ear was as bunged up as it is because I’ve become used to hearing everything on the left side with the hearing aid and must have been ignoring the right. Many a chum who has approached me on the wrong side to do the dreaded ‘walk and talk’, has been tripped up as I do a Ninja repositioning manoeuvre across their path to get the aided left ear into range.

      I don’t know if they just offered me one aid because the ENT consultant thought that it would be no use anyway, and likely to be abandoned in a drawer, but I’m my own worst enemy for being too timid to question stuff, because I think I’ll get told off. I’m so glad Carl encouraged me to chase the two aids issue, and if I hadn’t asked about that, I’d have been completely oblivious to the wax problem and walking around somewhat deafer than I need to be!

      Totally know where you’re coming from with the sound localisation v. actually hearing something hearing aid tradeoff, Sara…the perfect answer is, of course, throwing away the hearing aids and giving the students megaphones 🙂

  3. 5 babs scott February 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Woo hoo! glad to hear you’ll be getting a second aid, it does make you feel more balanced. Initially, I thought i just had blocked tubes due to waxy lugs (it runs in the family) but no my ears were clear and hence the referral to ENT and two aids. I’m sure the wax removal will make a bit of a difference, but obviously not as much as a second aid.

    B x

    • 6 moiradancer February 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Babs, I’m anticipating that once the right ear has been excavated of its homemade earplug, it will feel like I’ve got a hearing aid on both sides, I can’t believe I didn’t notice how dull that side had got.

      Like you, I presented myself to the GP two years ago to unveil my self diagnosis of wax in my ears, only to discover that there was a cookie in there instead…the rest is history!

  4. 7 Eloise February 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Moira,

    Just thought I’d introduce myself as I haven’t in the few months I’ve been reading your blog. I’m not a member of the cookie bite club unfortunately, though I do have hearing loss and use two hearing aids (I received these in December). Just like to say that your blog has really brought some light into my life lately and I’d love to keep reading more!


    • 8 moiradancer February 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Eloise, lovely to hear from you, delighted to hear you’ve been enjoying the blog…you are now an honorary member of the cookie bite club! Hope your new hearing aids are working out for you. There will be plenty more daftness to come on these pages, so do drop in anytime!


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