Sunday, February 3, 2008

Is This Tinnitis? Also re Hearing Loss in General

So one of the side effects for virtually everyone who takes Salsalate, an NSAID I'm taking huge doses of, is tinnitis and some hearing loss, all of which is reportedly reversible when you quit taking the medicine.

Combined with the loss of hearing from my very stoppered ears from a double ear infection, and there's a lot I'm not hearing. (It makes me very sad that I can barely hear Ellie so while I might catch a word here or there, I can't carry on a conversation with her right now because it's just not enough when dealing with a 3-year-old who makes digressions an art form.)

I always thought Tinnitis was a ringing in the ears. And I have had a little of that since I started the Salsalate, but not much. But it's very very noisy in my head.

When I woke from a nap on Saturday afternoon, I could have sworn I was on the El in Chicago because of the clickety-clacking sound in my head. Sometimes when I hold my ears because the pain is particularly bad, it sounds like waterfalls.

But the really weird part is that I frequently hear what sounds like a poorly tuned radio that's mostly static but with a faint strand of melody that I just can't quite make out. That can't possibly be tinnitis, can it?

It's also a little scary being home alone during the days because I keep hearing what sounds like doors closing, someone walking on the stairs (both in the house and up to the front door at different times). On Friday I think it was, I started the dishwasher and its early sounds were totally below my hearing level. When it got into a more serious gear later on, I jumped and went running to see what had happened because I'd forgotten all about it and it seemed to me to have started out of no where.

I grew up with a hard-of-hearing Mom whose hearing was ultimately bad enough that she had cochlear implants put in a few years ago. At dinner Saturday night, Scott commented on how he's noticed that (before I got laryngitis yesterday) I'm talking just a shade louder than "appropriate." It reminded him of my mother, pre-implants. I nodded, and reminded him what she always said, which was that if you can't hear yourself, you don't know if you're talking too loud so it's up to him to kindly and discreetly point it out to me if we're in public. And that I'd probably need frequent reminders.

I was talking to my sister the other day and bemoaning how difficult it was to explain it all to Ellie. And Sharon said, "Just tell her what Mom always said to us!" Which in paraphrasing was something along the lines of "Mommy's ears are broken and they don't work so well right now so you need to speak with a big voice so Mommy can hear what you're saying." (It helps to be the oldest kid -- you remember so much more because it got repeated on all the other kids! I don't remember ever hearing anything like that!!) It helped in that Ellie no longer sounds as confused why I can't hear her, but her best response was, "Do your ears need new batteries, Mommy?"

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