One of the things about a disability is that it may be misunderstood. A diagnosis by a physician may observe many of the symptoms of what it is you are experiencing, but occasionally – even in modern times, diagnoses may overlook your own personal symptoms. I am an individual with sensorineural hearing loss. As I type this article, the spell check doesn’t even recognize the word ‘sensorineural’. Wikipedia defines sensorineurual as:
Sensorineural hearing loss can be mild, moderate, or severe, including total deafness…The great majority of human sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti in the cochlea…In the rarest of these sorts of hearing loss, only the auditory centers of the brain are affected. In this situation, central hearing loss, sounds may be heard at normal thresholds, but the quality of the sound perceived is so poor that speech cannot be understood.
In my case, they do not know for certain, but speculate at the cause of my hearing loss. When I was an infant, I contracted measles. Also, my grandfather & his twin brother, when they were both in their early 30’s, started losing hearing. Each, by the time they reached their early to mid-40s, was almost completely deaf. After my hearing test two years ago, my audiologist told me I was predisposed to losing my hearing, and to “make preparations.” Isn’t that what doctors tell you when a loved one’s condition is at a point where they can’t do anything more and it’s time for the person to die?
The good things is, my cup is half full, and the reason I am writing this article, is because I am inflicted with a symptom – and it is Tinnitus. From Wikipedia: Tinnitus (from the Latin word tinn?tus meaning, “ringing”) is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal for even the briefest period (but usually with some duration), ear infections, foreign objects in the ear, nasal allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain, or wax build-up…Tinnitus is common; about one in five people between 55 and 65 years old report symptoms on a general health questionnaire, and 11.8% on more detailed tinnitus-specific questionnaires.
Do you see anywhere, since this symptom is “common,” that it may be caused by sensorineural hearing loss? In today’s modern times, it’s not even listed on a popular dictionary – so I am basically, misunderstood. My head rings 24/7 – it sounds like bus brakes – or the emergency broadcast system playing right outside my left ear and in the center of my brain towards the back right side – very loud! Fortunately, as a young boy, I learned to embrace this and not to fight it. As a middle-aged man now, I can only imagine the difficulties of growing up if I would have fought this. To give an idea of how loud this is, as I am writing it, I am talking out loud in a normal voice, and the sound of the right brain is drained out by my voice, but the left-brain sound is much louder than the sound of my own voice. I am not complaining – I am merely sharing information.
In the dictionary, there is a suggestion outside of the article of definition for tinnitus, that sensorineural hearing loss also be included in one of the causes. But it is NOT included – therefore, not even the editors approving the article of definition have gotten off of their tush and consulted with top physicians to confirm that, in fact, sensorineural hearing loss can be a cause of tinnitus. If you need confirmation of that fact – I am it.
If you feel you are misunderstood about your disability, share it with others. Make sure you find a format (writing an article or record a voice article and have someone help you get it typed – send it to me and I’ll type it for you) to get it published and get it out there for others to read. Keep a positive perspective – every day is a beautiful day, we may have aches and pains and symptoms causing us to be uncomfortable, but do not let the disability overtake you – always be in control of your own psyche. If you feel down or depressed, be sure to reach out and have someone to talk to. Life is short – accept your disability (and in the case of me, mine is getting worse) – and share your strength in dealing with your disability with others. Be well. Thank you for reading.