Well, I’m back from the ENT. It was an odd visit…
The Dr. was cool. Both of them communicated rather well, considering my totally deaf state.
I took a hearing test, and for the first time ever, they adapted the test for tinnitus. Instead of a single tone, they used a triple tone. This made it easier to determine what was a tone and what was tinnitus. As a result, my hearing test results look better than any I’ve taken in 20+ years. Still very bad, but not AS bad, ya know?
Some possibility they’re looking at Superior Canal Dehiscence, which basically means that some bone is missing in my head, and that means sounds are directly exposed to the inner ear canal, which creates terrible pressure resulting in dizziness and nausea. It’s “fixable” with surgery, mainly ‘bone glue/cement’, where they patch the hole… Sounds like fun, yeah?
He also gave me an awesome description of what Tinnitus means in my case… it’s like someone who gets their arm or leg cut off or blown off. Soldiers who come home from war, having the legs blown off, sometimes/oftentimes feel pain in a limb that doesn’t exist. Called ghost pain, or phantom pain. It’s the brain saying “I know you’re supposed to be there, but you’re not, so that hurts”. Well, tinnitus is my brain saying “where’s the rest of it? I know there’s supposed to be more sound, so let me fill in the gaps.” It’s called subjective tinnitus.
Now, this COULD be fixable… with a cochlear implant. The cochlear implant processes sound differently. The sound is presented from a different source. But there is no guarantee until we “open the package” (go through the surgery and turn on the device). But the cochlear implant at it’s source will provide a more extreme level of amplification. It will not be “normal”.
It can take up to 2 years to reach a “plateau of normal” with the cochlear. If I install that thing, my life will be chaotic for quite a while as I adapt.
My lady made a point for me today:
You should feel lucky. You have a job, and you have health insurance which will pay for it. You have a job that will let you take the time you need to do this.
God, I’m a lucky man to have that woman.