Ok. Here is my story in a nutshell...
36 yr old female. Noticed hearing loss to be significant last winter. I had to have the television at max volume to understand what was being said. I was missing the majority of low frequency sounds and hearing speaking voices was a real challenge. As the hearing loss was gradual, I become an informal lip-reader. (funny thing...I never was consciously aware I was reading lips until someone asked me about it!)
Anyhow, I was taking my son for a checkup with his ENT and since I was there I requested a hearing test for myself. The doc. came in looking like his dog just died and told me I had substantial hearing loss. I had already kind of reconciled myself to this fact so it wasn't too terribly shocking. He told me I would have to see a specialist and JOY OF JOYS one of the top places in the U.S. to have this taken care of was nearby.
Dr. Larouere from the Michigan Ear Institute was who I was referred to. The ENT highly recommended him and of course I made sure to thoroughly check out the Mi. Ear Institute as well as the Dr. All sterling reports about Dr. Larouere!!
Went through additional hearing tests and evaluation. Had 30-35% hearing loss in both ears. Had right ear operated on March 2010. Very nauseous coming out of anesthesia. Vomiting. Spent night at hospital. I could immediately tell that a lot of hearing had been recovered. Packing vacuumed out a week later (hated that!). Sound was INTENSE and somewhat disorienting and painful. Dishes clanking or even vibration from walking up stairs seemed insanely loud. Apparently the brain needs time to relearn how to process sound.
A few weeks post-op I began getting distortion in my hearing.
Almost like being in a windstorm noise that would cut in and out. Took several rounds of steroids and it finally calmed down. Earplugs in the shower for SEVERAL MONTHS are a must in my book. (I think water running into my ear freaked out my hearing.)
Noticed vertigo symptoms beginning in late August.
I informed the Dr. of this when I came to the hospital for the second surgery in Sept. He said it may calm down on its own or we may have to go back into the first ear as sometimes the piston can loosen where it is crimped onto the incus. Ugh!
After waking up from having my left ear done (the second one) the Dr. told me that not only did I have otosclerosis in that ear but the incus was also malformed and shorter than it should be. Not good news to wake up to. The piston ended up sitting on an angle. (oddly enough...this was my better hearing ear!) Later that evening I got the tuning fork on the teeth test and I could hear like a champ in my operated ear. Success! Whoo-HOO!
I am now awaiting my 6 week post-op hearing test to see how the second ear has done. The first ear was a complete success (hearing wise). Almost total closure of the air/bone gap!
I am VERY glad I chose to have the surgeries! (even with the hiccups along the way) Hearing aids were not a good option for me as I sing and apparently hearing aids make sound less true and more mechanical sounding. I am anxious to get back to singing and hope I will be back in the Detroit Opera House with the rest of the choir this Christmas!
I know it is a big decision and can seem scary.