Another year on and another routine hearing test at my local audiology department. I’ve being through this many times before so I already know what to expect in advance yet I still have a nervousness hanging over me. I have known for the past few months that my hearing has deteriorated further so I’ve already tried to mentally prepare for my results not being as ‘good’ as they were the previous year.
As I walk into the audiology department I see everybody wearing masks – which again I expected but I still sigh and eye roll to myself. Managed to check in for my appointment and I head to the waiting room. Signs hanging on the walls saying ‘I can’t hear you if you cover your mouth’ half of which was covered by an outline of a hand. This seemed ironic given all the staff on the department were wearing masks, non of which had removed their mask when trying to speak to me.
Anyway, after a short wait I got taken to the room where they carry out the hearing checks and nothing about these rooms are appealing. The heavy grey door that slides and is sealed behind you, the bland walls with zero character, the machines with multiple wires hanging everywhere and of course the audiologist with their mask on…
I explained to the audiologist that I had noticed a deterioration in my hearing and had started to experience tinnitus. She marked this down and began the hearing test. Telling me to look away and explaining to me I needed to press the button when I heard the beeps (as if I could of forgotten from the past 14 years of hearing test). Midway through the hearing test she stopped, removed the headphones, popped my hearing aids back in for me and said ‘remember to press when you hear the beep’…. It wasn’t until that moment I realised I must be missing more beeps then expected.
She completed the test and removed the headphones. Waiting for her to pull my results up onto the computer felt like a long wait.. although looking back I could of used the extra few minutes to try prepare myself for them.
My results came up onto the screen and within seconds tears rolled down my cheeks. Knowing your hearing has deteriorated and seeing it shown to you on a screen feels like two different things. It was the moment of realisation that not only had my hearing deteriorated AGAIN but my ‘good’ ear was no longer my good ear, my ‘bad’ ear was now my terrible ear. I felt my heart shatter even though I knew prior to the results my hearing was worse.
I had been told at my last appointment my hearing would probably decline more yet I never seem to feel prepared to have it shown to me on a screen. I’ve accepted I will never have my hearing back and I’m fine with that. But appointments days don’t seem to get easier no matter how many times I have them.
So after my hearing aids are reprogrammed I am sent on my way but this time with a referral for more tests and to speak to the head and neck team. Unlike all previous years at this appointment my eardrums had no vibration on the pressure test. Although I left feeling deflated with the results I am pleased I have been given the opportunity for more tests to try find out why this is happening. Even though I know any answers I may get won’t give me my hearing back it will bring me some comfort and help me to further accept my deafness.