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Avatar universal

HELP!

I have had severe ear problems since I was a baby, but now I'm 16 and I have started to be unable to hear. Previously, it has just been because I have had a wax buildup and I have had gromits before. However, this time the doctor told me there was no wax in my ear. Now I am confused and I am starting to feel quite depressed because my parents think that I am putting it on and just doing it for attention. I made myself a doctor's appointment to find out what was going on and he said that I would probably need a hearing aid because my hearing is worsening in my right ear. But now I don't know what to say to my parents as it will make them think that I went behind their backs to make the appointment. I am also petrified at getting hearing aids at my age because I'm worried about whether it will put future employees off hiring me and I don't want to get bullied. I told my friend the other day and she laughed so imagine what people I don't get on with will do. Please help... I am getting desperate!
Simone
3 Responses
Avatar universal
OK,

Here is the deal. You for sure will want to get a test called Tympanometry done. This test will check for fluid or any abnormalaties within the middle ear. Then you will want OAE testing done.  OAE testing is an OBJECTIVE test, and if you fail this test, this will prove to your parents that you are not "reaching out" for attention etc.

Then of course you want your standard audio gram done.

That said, if you need hearing aids, there are some awesome products on the market today. Such as the Resound Dot 60  

http://www.resound.ch/fachwelt/deutsch/data/dot_16515200rAs2%20GB.pdf

There are some you tube clips of the hearing aid too.  

Now you spoke about future employment.  Truth is, it is a founded concern, but on the flips side, most states offer free college tuition to those with hearing impairments, and you would be a sure fit for any audiology program.  I would wager you would have job offers before you even graduated.  Hearing Aid companies and cochlear implant companies would be beating down your door....   but you would have to be willing to go in to audiology in the first place.

Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
Hi!

Like the person before said, get a Tympanometry test to check your hearing! This is totally objective. As well as testing pressure in your middle ear it will also test your stapedial reflex (which is a reflex your middle ear bones do in loud noise. If it gets too loud then they will react to lower the noise and protect your cochlea) – if this is bad, then you definitely have a hearing loss. Since you’ve had grommets you’ll know what it’s like  Also, an audiogram and OAE test will be useful too. The OAE can check to see if you have a sensorineural hearing loss (bearing in mind, if you have a sensorineural hearing loss in the one ear you may have to have an MRI scan too. This is just to pin-point where you may have the hearing loss). At this point your parents will surely realise you’re not playing the fool >_>

I totally understand what you mean when you say you worry if your parents will believe you. I have a sensorineural hearing loss in my right ear, and have done since I was a toddler. I only found out when I was 11. For all of my childhood I’ve had trouble hearing and I kept quiet about it until I was 10 or so – then I started to make a fuss XD My parents were really unsure about what to do, but we still went back and forth to the doctor. Eventually the GP referred me to Audiology where, ta dah, we found out about it. I think if you had good evidence of your hearing loss, then your parents won’t be as harsh as they seem. As for going behind their backs, I don’t think it would make them angry. It may make them sad and feel guilty, but they won’t be angry.

Hearing aids can be a very scary thing, I won’t deny that. I got mine when I turned 18 because I was told there weren’t any hearing aids that would work for me and my hearing loss (I got a BICROS aid, which is a pretty weird thing. There are two hearing aids, connected to eachother by a wire to help with localisation. It’s very rare to get one of these so you may not get one of these). I hated mine. It took a long while to get used to, but now I’m ok with it. I wouldn’t say I love them or adore them, but I don’t hate them anymore either. They are simply a tool to help me. No different from those mobile phone headphone pieces you see business men/women wearing in their one ear. Hearing aids are there to help you, and even when you get one you don’t have to have it permanently stuck in your ear. If you’re at home and in a quiet environment, you might choose to take it off. When you’re in a noisy environment, like a lecture or restaurant, you might want to put it on. That is totally fine. You’re the one in control of it. You get used to the hearing aids after a few months if you’re determined enough to see it through.

An important question to ask yourself though is – do you really need it? I’m not saying you’re lying or whatever, I’m asking if you really feel you struggle with conversation and everyday life. If you, personally,  think you’re doing fine without it, that you can hear the birds fine, be able to cross the road fine, be able to, ok, not completely understand what someone is saying in another room but get the gist of it, then hearing aids may not be a majorly important thing right now. In the future they may be, but if you’re living comfortably without them and aren’t struggling then you don’t have to have them. Some people with a one sided loss find it hell without a hearing aid. Others find they manage very well. It depends on the person and what you think you struggle with (disregarding what people may think about it).

As for future employers...I had the same thought. Many employers are actually accepting hearing loss more because it is sooooo common now. What with MP3 players and ipods it’s bound to get even more popular. I’m a second year student studying Audiology and I found that, at all of the Universities I applied to, they were very very eager to have me on their course. One even offered to give me a part in a research project! I’ve had two jobs so far and I told both employers about my hearing loss and they were completely fine with it. If an employer rejects you for your hearing loss, then they’re not worth working for. There may be some occupations you have to give up which require listening – like speech and language therapy (which was actually my dream job, but I had to give that up because I couldn’t really hear the patients). But there is always an alternative. In fact, I’m really happy in Audiology right now. The person above is right, yeah, you’d be great in Audiology but that’s not the only job you can do. You can still be a police woman, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever, if you’re determined to see it through. And also if you tell people straight that you have hearing loss. If you don’t, and then the employer finds out, it could cause a few problems. Trust me, I know. It’s better to be honest about this – to yourself and to others.

Bullying, when you get older, happens a lot less. At 16 you’re kind of at the tail end of the bullying in school. It’s very uncommon for bullying to happen when you’re at college. Kids have grown up by then and have accepted theirs and eachothers differences. It may sound far-fetched, but you do notice the difference in maturity (by the by, I’m 20). I haven’t had bullying at all and people have never reacted funny to me when they know that I’m deaf. I still have the fear, but it’s unfounded. Nothing has happened to prove that feeling right.
Your friend probably laughed because she didn’t believe you. Can you blame her? You have perfect speech (I’m assuming), you respond well to people, there’s nothing on the outside to indicate it. There’s nothing to say you have a hearing loss, nothing to conform to the stereotype of deafness. If you showed up with hearing aids she would probably be horrifically embarrassed. People always need to see these things with their own eyes before they believe it. The problem with deafness is that it’s invisible, so it’s hard to prove. If you have hearing aids, people with believe you. But if you tell them and let them see for themselves you naturally have a problem (like if they call your name and you don’t respond, or you ask them to repeat a question a few times) then they will believe you. It may take a while, but they will and they’ll accept it. If they don’t and think you’re being awkward, then you need to question how much of a friend they are. Really, some people will be totally ok with it.

I hope you find this useful. Sorry it’s such a long answer! Just remember that you’re not alone and there are many options open to you. Good luck.
Avatar universal
Yes it is true (mostly) that the world is your oyster even with a hearing loss.

BTW: Tympanometry is not a hearing test, it just tests middle ear function. BUT if it is abnormal that "should" mean that there would be a conductive hearing loss, but Tympanometry can not ***** the degree of a hearing loss.  

OAE, same thing, it can not ***** degree, but it can detect abnomalaties within the cochlea.

AN MRI would be too costly, but there is another option called an ASSR.  Which is another objective test and can measure hearing acuity.  (pretty nifty machine)

Regardless, the OP probably has her answers by now.

AuD ccc-a
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