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I never thought I will go deaf before I go blind. Wait... I never thought I would go deaf. period. Then again, I wonder why I thought that considering that eventually older people fail in their eyesight and hearing.

For the last 2 mornings, I have been experiencing deafness in my right ear. It's not total deafness, but an almost certain blockage. This causes a vibration in the ear as I speak. I sounded nasal to myself and assumed I naturally spoke louder.

It was the most annoying feeling - the feeling of not being totally "whole". I initially thought it was the usual hardening ear wax accumulation that I experienced a couple of years back. Back then, I paid a visit to the GP clinic and the doc simply removed the wax with a jet spray gun or some sort. So casually, I thought this incident was just another similar case and headed to the GP late yesterday morning expecting a "ear wash". After much probing with those microscopic instruments, the doc deduced that my ear was clean and ear drum in tact. There was little she could really do and made a referral for me to see an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist. Her suspect was a possible nerve damage which might have caused the sudden lost of hearing.

Strangely, Tuesday afternoon after a bowl of hot Mee Hoon Kuey, the blockage slowly subsided. Causing me to wonder if my experience was just one off. I arranged for my appointment with a private ENT specialist at Mount Elizabeth for the following morning. By evening, when I met up with Tom, the cow; who was back from the States after 8 years - I felt perfectly fine. I didn't even bother relating the morning's ordeal to anyone at dinner.

By 8am this morning, I was still having "a good ear day". I was seriously contemplating if I should even bother dropping by the specialist for the check. Then, I figured I might as well give myself a peace of mind since I've gotten the referral and I only needed to pay 15% of the total specialist bill. Almost instantly after I closed the car door on my way to the hospital, the entire right ear deafness crept back!

The doc's diagnosis was similar to the GP's. Nothing unusual that he can relate to my nose or throat either. He asked a series of questions which ranged from recent travels, swimming, habits in audio levels, stress in the office... even how late I slept at nights. What surprised myself most, was that I have been an extremely good girl for the past 2 weeks. Kept earlier nights then "ever" and prob only had 2 glasses of wine in weeks. This was actually the most unlikely time I should encounter something like this. The doc did some primitive tuning fork tests and was quick to suspect that the problem might likely be in the inner ear. To be a little more precise, the cochlea. According to him, there is only 1 vain that carries blood to the cochlea and poor blood circulation could be the cause. He was concerned if this has caused any damage to my overall hearing ability and sent me for a series of hearing tests from an audiologist.

At the audiologist clinic, I was sent into a sound proof studio. Padded, sound isolated walls with audio proofed doors. There were audio consoles, headphones and some other testing machinery. Prob on the weekends, a band could use the place for a recording gig. One of the tests was to press a buzzer when I heard a certain sound frequency. Pretty cool as it was almost like playing a computer game. When the test results were revealed, my hearing was within normal limits bilaterally. Between 0 - 30 decibels and 250 - 8000 Hz. What was more surprising was my right ear (which was suppose to be the deaf one) was doing better then my left. What a joke! Seriously!

The specialist decided to put me on some medication and vitamins for blood circulation. The medication and treatment will be most effective within 48 hours of the problem, which was a good thing I decided not to delay the visit. Most people I knew would have waited a couple of days to monitor the situation further.

I survived the rest of the morning with just 1 ear, again. Then after lunch, I noticed the same pattern of being able to hear perfectly. After a chat with my mom over the phone about my findings, she suspected that my lack of proper breakfast in the mornings might have contributed to my low sugar level - thus causing this problem. I thought it made a lot of sense... and she told me to take note of the pattern and timing. Guess tomorrow I will pick up a red bean pancake on my way to work!

As of now, I am ALL ears.

It reminds me of how much of what I have that's taken for granted. At least now, I really wouldn't be surprised if one day I will be attached with some kind of hearing aid. Just that, not being able to hear have made me think that I might not be able to do some activities I love so much - scuba diving, rocking out at a concert, flying in a hot-air balloon, maybe even swimming. Or if the ear causes an imbalance in my sensory ability, then everything else might be problem... even walking.
It reminds me that perhaps some things like my health insurance should be looked into - earlier rather then later...


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