Been a year now

…since my surgery last year. On 05/12/11 I went to Mass Eye and Ear to attempt to recover some of the hearing I lost in my left ear due to head trauma. The surgery yielded very little improvement. It wasn’t a complete waste of time, it did correct one of the issues I was having. The incoming sounds, especially voices, were like Donald Duck was talking. Very garbled, very hard to pick out words.

I do still have the “kazoo” when I speak. My own voice sounds like a kazoo playing in my left ear when I’m talking. The softer I speak, the less I hear the kazoo. If I whisper there is no kazoo sounds at all, but I don’t really hear my voice on the left side at all at that point either.

The volume is obviously not good in my left ear. Voices coming in to that ear are higher pitched than they are on the right side. I can use that ear to talk on the phone, but the voices coming in sound a little like the person speaking inhaled helium. I’ll put the phone up to that ear when I need a chuckle.

Louder sounds coming in to the left ear are like listening to music through a blown speaker. The louder the sound, the more the distortion is noticeable. Sounds are more “flat” in that ear too. It’s hard to describe, but it’s almost like something is loose in that ear. If I tap on my neck anywhere, I hear something in my left ear almost rattle.

So, I don’t really know where to go from here. My next appointment with my otologist is in January. I do have to say that I seem to be adapting more. My son’s birthday is May 5th and we have a favorite restaurant we go to on or around his birthday. The place in in an old mill building and the sounds just echo off the extremely high ceilings and stone walls. Last year it was awful, I couldn’t follow the conversations at all, had trouble communicating with the wait staff, it was just a tough night. We went there over the weekend and it didn’t seem that bad. Yes, I still had some difficulty but not anywhere near what it was last year. I actually enjoyed myself this year.

The depression of last year connected to losing my hearing seems to have gone too. I was so upset last year over the hearing loss, and the fact that it was self inflicted made it even worse. For those of you who don’t know the story, I fell New Year’s after coming home intoxicated. I was out with friends who are heavier drinkers than I am and I apparently kept up with their drinking pace. No one to blame but myself, I should know better. Came home, lost my balance going up the stairs on my porch, pitched forward and put my hand out to stop the fall. No go, my hand went through the balusters and my head connected with the handrail knocking me unconscious. Then unconscious I fell to the stairs landing on the left side of my head. I proceeded to then slide down a stair or two on the left side of my face/head.

I came to and barely remember being helped in to the house. All my drunken brain knew was I was hurt and wanted to go to bed. My husband, also intoxicated, didn’t stop me. Yes, we got a ride home that night! We were dropped off in our driveway. It wasn’t until the next morning that I knew the full extent of my injuries. Massive bump on the head, scrapes, cuts and bruises on my face and head, a concussion, and my hearing damage. Not my proudest moment by any stretch of the imagination.

When you’re drunk and you do something stupid, people like to keep reminding you of just how stupid you’ve been. The jokes about my being drunk and losing my hearing went on, and on, and on. That sure didn’t do anything to help me. When I needed support the most, I got ridicule instead. This board was the only place that I felt “safe” discussing my hearing issues. When mentioned to anyone else all I got was jokes in return about my drunken stumble.

So here I am, 16 months after the fall and 12 months post op, doing better in many ways. As I said I’m adapting better and my brain is adjusting to my new hearing more and more. I flew for the first time since my accident and surgery last month. When the pressure built in my ears I found I heard absolutely nothing out of my left ear. Once my ear popped my now normal hearing returned. Sometimes when I drive my hearing “flutters”, its almost as if I can feel my eardrum fluttering along with it.

Ok, I’ve rambled enough so there is my update.

wow, what a story! and how awful to not get the emotional support when you needed it. i am continually amazed at how thoughtless/heartless people can be.

and very glad you were able to find some support here too!


These people believe people get what they deserve; it’s especially bad when judges have it because they tend to blame the victim.
The thing is, they don’t know that they have this belief.

Thank you for the update, Lisa.

I have been following your recovery here and hope we can continue to encourage you in some small way.

Gotta love the victim deserved it way of thinking. Coping mechanism to overcome how we can’t deal with bad things happening to good people. It was tough, “can you hear me now” from the Verizon wireless commercial fame seemed to be the favorite joke. Thankfully I did have people who listened, a couple of friends and this message board.

I don’t know what is still wrong with my hearing. I do know that there is some sensorineural loss that can not be recovered, but why is my hearing still so messed up? I would think if there was any kind of damage to the temporal bone in that area it would be long healed by now.

The doctor was leaning towards the “kazoo” effect being nerve/cochlea related. I disagree, why would the kazoo only play when there are vibrations? If I whisper, causing almost no vibrations within my throat/neck, there is no kazoo at all. But as the volume of my voice goes up, the kazoo starts to play. I really miss singing to songs I like. And the tapping on my neck, why do I hear that rattling noise in my left ear? If I turn my head quickly I can hear something shift on my left side, almost like I can feel and hear my ear drum being moved ever so slightly.

I’m still frustrated I guess. As I have said may times before I just want answers. Even if this is as good as my hearing gets I would be fine with it as long as I understood WHY it was so bad. I have a feeling my ossicular chain is out of alignment. Maybe my prosthetic slipped? Maybe something was jarred loose on the drive home from Mass Eye and Ear. It’s a 45 minute drive over pot-holed New England roads after all. The day after my surgery I could hear that loose noise in my ear as I combed my hair. I have heard that sound since the fall, it was more pronounced before the surgery but still exists post surgery.

The doctor mentioned me getting a high resolution scan of the head to see if it reveals anything. Guess I’ll call and see if I can at least go in and get the scan done. If it shows something perhaps I’ll be seeing him sooner than January 2013. Answers damn it, that’s all I want! Well, and to hear better if at all possible would be nice too. :wink:

sounds like it may be times to switch doctors…

Very sad story, the worst are the jokes:mad:
Thanks for the update:)

I had another take on this. Laughing is a form of denial as in

which may be necessary for some people because they know deep down that the same thing, or worse, can happen to them at any time. :eek: