Over the past few months, I’ve been dealing with extreme emotions about numerous issues. This blog is going to contain many rants…Apologies. I’m angry and venting…
Before terminating me, my ex-employer treated me horrible. They acted like I was an animal. They spread rumors about my condition amongst the plant. They called my cell phone and left voice mails knowing that I require the use of a VCO phone. Working at the same location as my husband and dad was nice, however, it caused numerous issues with rumor spreading after my stroke. Not once did my ex-employer see me after my stroke! It makes me furious because I was a hard worker.
New Hearing Evaluation
After my stroke, I received an informal hearing test which revealed that I had mild-to-moderate hearing loss. As a result, my rehab referred me to their recommended audiologist (Dr. Anderson). Dr. Anderson performed a hearing test (audiogram) using pure-tone signals. Even though I had numerous issues with auditory comprehension, my scores were normal. Regardless, the audiologist stated that I had normal hearing and there was nothing that she could help me with despite the fact that I couldn’t understand speech.
As a result of these findings, my rehab told me that the issue wasn’t with my hearing acuity for an ENTIRE year. Over the course of the year, my auditory comprehension did improve utilizing speechreading (lip-reading) strategies. Background noise bothered me like crazy and made it difficult to understand speech. I couldn’t have a conversation in a noisy restaurant.
Noticing that I was still having issues, Ricky took me to have another hearing evaluation. My new audiologist (Dr. Mainord) performed numerous hearing tests. Again, the pure-tone test came back normal. However, the speech reception threshold test came back with abnormal results (http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Speech-Testing/). I scored a 0% in my left ear, 54% in my right ear, and 68% binaurally. After all the tests were performed, Dr. Mainord sat down with us and said that he could understand why I was having so many issues. He said, “We are going to get you some help!”. Dr. Mainord got clearance from an ENT for my hearing aids.
Luckily, Dr. Mainord listened to my issues and helped. I received my hearing aids two months ago. I’m shocked at the custom features of my hearing aid model. They can adjust background noise and speech levels. It’s awesome. Dr. Mainord said that it could take a few months for my brain to get used to picking up the new sounds. However, the hearing aids have already helped my communication significantly.
Knowing what I discovered in this entire process, it makes me angry when a SPL says that I have normal hearing. The pure-tone (audiogram) test doesn’t tell the whole story. See the following article: (http://www.audiologyonline.com/articles/auditory-processing-in-adults-beyond-898). The article says:
“The concept of looking beyond the audiogram is not new. Karlin (1942) noted that tests of conventional auditory acuity had little value in predicting auditory behavior in more complex social situations. Despite this observation more than 50 years ago, audiologists often continue to hold the audiogram as the primary tool for addressing auditory behavior. The audiogram must certainly be a starting point. However, patients express frustration when told by the audiologist that communication issues do not exist based on the fact that the audiogram is “normal,” as if to negate their presenting concerns. This is particularly problematic when the patient has a history of an etiology that may explain their communication deficits. In these cases, the role of auditory processing and its disorders must be explored to understand the patient’s concerns and to develop a treatment plan to manage their communication difficulties. ”
“As noted previously, auditory behaviors are complex. The auditory nervous system is designed to capitalize on redundancies in both the auditory nervous system and in language in order to utilize cues that enhance predictability in communication, particularly in less than optimal listening situations, such as when background noise is present. The auditory nervous system is also designed to process information quickly and flexibly, ranging from simple detection tasks to much more complex tasks such as listening to speech in a reverberant or noisy environment.”
Health Insurance Red-Tape
I was discharged from rehab 1.5 weeks after I got my hearing aids. As noted in my previous blogs, I’m supposed to start speech therapy somewhere else. It has been 2 months since I’ve been to therapy. I’m getting EXTREMELY frustrated waiting on the health insurance. I just want to get better and get the most use of my hearing aids.
Hearing Loss Disability
Over the course of this experience, I’ve learned that hearing loss discrimination is a huge problem. I look normal. Even though I was wounded, I still consider myself intelligent. I’ve experienced numerous harassing situations. This was evident with how I was treated by my ex-employer. I even had one guy pick on my disability at rehab even though he couldn’t walk correctly due to a car wreck.
One thing that keeps me going is releasing my emotions through my workouts.
Regardless, I’m shocked of how much I have improved over the past 14 months. I can’t wait to prove the HATERS wrong.