Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now?


Remember when I got sick in January? Of course you don't. No one remembers when someone else was sick, but I remember it. It was a miserable month. I had a cold, followed by a sinus infection and leftover Eustacian Tube Dsyfunction.

I got to the ENT and they give me steroids to take off the pressure. The pressure was removed, but my ear was still clogged when the meds were done.

I go to my primary care physician for my annual exam and physical and she sees something in my ear and is like: you need to go back to the ENT.

Go back and they said my hearing was actually BETTER than it was the first time I went in. Makes no sense.

The thing is pressure in your ear doesn't affect your hearing as much as you think it was. The point is there was crazy pressure. It SEEMED like I couldn't hear and I was sick of it.

Short of surgery and waiting there was really nothing that I could do.

The doc removed some ear wax and looks at me and says: does that make it better? Naw dude. Some ear wax is not stopping my ear from unclogging. Then he says something that gets to the bottom on the conversation.

He said there was something strange about how my jaw was clenched. Hmm... well, I grind my teeth at night. It's mostly due to stress and I have a mouthguard, but I hate to wear it. I've gotten it sized and resized and it stills bruises the inside of my cheeks. So I can either have grinded down teeth or bruised cheeks. I guess at the end of the day, I can replace my teeth. My jaws are irreplaceable.

I also just feel like a 13 year old with a retainer. And I've never worn braces or a retainer so going to bed with something in my mouth just seems crazy.

Anywho, I tell the ENT I grind my teeth. He suggests I wear my mouthguard. He then says: Do you chew gum. I'm like hell yeah, every day.

Side note: from the ages of about 9-12 (or something like that) I had tonsilitis. I didn't get frequent strep throat like the lucky kids. Nope, I had a growth in the back of my throat that smelled like death and dismemberment, so people who know me from that error probably think my breath stinks.

As such, I have a complex about stinky breath and you'd be hard pressed to find me more than 2 feet away from gum, mints or mouthwash at any given moment.

I digress.

The ENT doctor told me: stop chewing gum.

And just like that, I'm cured.

Let me run this back. I get stressed out. Grind my teeth. It locks my jaw and/or something connected to my ear drum. I can't hear. I chew gum and it makes it worse.

So if I stop chewing gum, I can hear.

This is the dumbest diagnosis on the face of the planet, except it was free and it worked.

Further, I still have high frequency sensorineural hearing loss and that will just get worse over the course of my life time. So when you ask: Can you hear me now, the answer is likely a strong maybe.

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