New Member (Music/Cleft Palate query)


I recently came across this forum and have already been helped with many of your comments about situations and experiences people have with hearing problems.

I am 37 and living in China. I have a daughter and Chinese wife and have been here for nine years. I teach spoken English here.

I have a cleft palate and so, apparently my eustachian tubes don’t function so well. I first really noticed my hearing loss about seven years ago when my left ear felt full.

I ended up going back to see a specialist in the UK who concluded I was pretty much ok. I felt he was concluding that I have a cleft so I will always have problems with my ears. I had questions at the time regarding being a dj, to which he said I should continue with no worry. I had always worried about headphones as I used the headphones with my left ear to beat match for a good few years but I think he saw my problems stemming from my cleft and nothing else.

I came back to China and carried on. I got used to it and actually my hearing was really no problem. Two years ago I began music production where I was using headphones a lot. I noticed over the last year that my right ear is now feeling full and not so good. I questioned the use of headphones- won’t use them now for tweaking mixes.

I am very confused as to why my hearing has degraded. I side with the UK specialist but really worry about music. I’ve recently stopped the music but it is a passion and I want to continue. I have earplugs in the post and will start again soon at safe volumes. I’ve only ever mixed at home so it is not like big clubs but I do mix for long long periods. This is something I am learning to control. I am now limiting myself to one hour per day for 5 days a week, no headphones (except for checking final mix) and earplugs.

I recently went to have a check here. My results were:

Right: 250 500 750 1k 1.5k 2k 3k 4k 6k 8k
50 45 40 50 35 45 60 70 65 65

Left 40 45 55 45 55 45 60 80 85 90

Over the years I have learnt not to trust Chinese doctors so I never accept what they say. I am getting another check on Monday as I don’t believe these results fully. I admit I have a problem but I don’t think it is this bad. It might be, but I can’t understand why a lot of people on this forum have better results than me but need hearing aids. I don’t feel I need them, although I have noticed that some people that I speak to, in some rooms, I don’t get and occasionally with soft speakers I am lost. I get most of what I hear in class from my students (remember they are esl students) and hear them fine face to face.

I am wondering about a hearing aid. I may have to go back to the UK to see a specialist but if I keep on searching here I hope I can find an ENT specialist who may help. I was going to go back to the UK to work but am seriously considering staying here now as I worry that my hearing will hinder me in the workplace. I am reasonably safe here in my work and can save enough(not lots of!) money. My job relies on me listening to students. The funny thing is that since my hearing got worse I have improved my teaching because I demand clear communication from my students now and emphasize intonation and stress in class. This really helps me hear them!

I don’t know if I have any questions or just needed to write about this. Sorry about the long post. Any advice really appreciated.