Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Semantics of Tinnitus & Hearing Loss: Diagnosis

Consultant: We have had the test results back and the reason why you have developed severe tinnitus is because you are going deaf.

Me: Pardon?

Consultant: You are substantially losing your hearing, we will need to do an MRI brain scan.

I didn't hear anything he said after that because my mind was a blur with the words 'losing your hearing'  'going deaf' and 'brain scan'.

Today, the day after, I have been thinking about the semantics of his words.

If I am 'losing my hearing' ... the word losing sounds as if my loss is ongoing, like there's a hole in my bucket that I can not fix and the water is going to keep leaking out until there's nothing left. 

'Going deaf' ... sounds like I have boarded a train with no stops until I can hear nothing at all.

As a musician, a songwriter, a community artist, a storyteller, a person whose life is defined through sound, I might have preferred him to tell me how much hearing ability I still have and for how long, what I can do to care for my hearing, rather than how my hearing loss is ranked.

Even if I bite the realistic bullet and think in terms of loss, saying 'I have lost some of my hearing' ... at least gives me a sense of hope, alluding to the fact that I have quite a bit of hearing left and might not lose anymore.

And then there's the nightmare of living forever with this tinnitus. 

'There is no cure for it' the Consultant tells me as a fait accompli. 

I couldn't find the strength to tell him that since the onset of tinnitus and hyperacusis last September, in the long wait for this appointment, I am already in the throws of extensive research into alternative therapies, nutrition, psychological re-training and counselling. They may not cure me, but they are healing, indeed. 

Neither did I mention how 3 times a week I chant at a temple for healing, nor that I tip toe barefoot in the stream opposite our house ... these things were not part of the medical discourse yesterday.

My over-riding feeling is that I need to be still, button down the hatches and re-group. I need to learn how to reach out and ask for the help I need (which is even difficult to type let alone do!)

In a moment of weakness, I let slip my pain on facebook and have been totally overwhelmed by the loving response from friends. It made such a difference waking up to what felt like a wave of nurturing support. A sense of 'not being alone' on this journey. Thank you. It is this that prompted me to blog today.

Please, look after your ears.

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