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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sudden deafness, two week checkup


Yesterday it was two weeks since my doctor told me I had sudden deafness and started pumping me full of steroids. I went back for a two week check-up, and to get more medicines.

First, there was a hearing test. During the hearing test, the nurse asked me no less than three times if I "really had been taking the medicines?"... The result of the hearing test was "maybe a little bit worse, maybe no change".

In my day to day life, I hear, or at least notice, more sounds now than I did last week, so I thought I had had a slight improvement on high frequency sounds. Not enough to actually make out what I am hearing, I just notice that "left ear is hearing something [no idea what]" in situations where I did not notice any sound at all before. So this hearing is not actually any help in any meaningful way, but still feels a little bit encouraging. Possibly it is just the brain being more sensitive, or me not remembering/noticing such sounds before.

Anyway, for low to mid frequencies, I still hear nothing at all. Which I think is the same as before, but maybe I did actually notice some low frequency sounds on extreme volumes last time? I also have some ringing in the ear now (constant, but not that loud), which I did not have the first days.

Apart from being partially deaf making traffic a serious danger to me (I have no idea where sounds come from, currently), another good reason not to go to work by bicycle is the amount of snowfall during days with lots of snow...

The doctor told me that some people get better quickly, some people get better even though there is no improvement early on (and of course some people never get better at all). He also said that there is no other treatment than taking steroids, so in that sense it really does not matter what has happened so far, staying on steroids is the only thing to do. Of course, taking huge amounts of steroids for long periods of time is not good, so if you start getting improvements they cut down the amounts as quickly as they dare. My doctor said that having these shock doses of steroids longer is not good, so he cut the dosage a bit for me and said to come back in three weeks.

So, not good news. But maybe not that bad news either. Having no improvement is worse than getting better of course, but it is apparently not rare to have very little change the first two or three weeks even if you are one of the lucky ones that get your hearing back eventually. And since I seem to pick up a bit more on sounds around me, I am still having some hope that at least some hearing will come back.

The frequencies I can slightly pick up on now seem to include large parts of the frequencies used for human speech, so maybe I can start hearing what people say again even if the hearing of low frequencies never comes back. That would be helpful, since the most annoying parts now is that I have problems hearing what people say to me if there is a lot of sounds in the background. My brain cannot figure out if two sounds come from the same source or not, it seems, so lots of it gets jumbled into one weird sound to me. Trying to follow a conversation in a stairwell with a lot of echoes was also surprisingly (very) difficult. Lots of interesting insights into how the brain can fail, which again would be more interesting (actually very interesting) if you did not have to worry about this stuff being permanent, haha.

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