Can This Happen to Me?

You know being in my mid-20s, the last thing I suspect to be concerned with is any sign of health problems.  About a little over a year ago, I learned that I have a condition called otosclerosis, which is a condition of the middle ear that causes hearing loss and gets worse over time.  Wow.  I freaked.  I experienced many high-and-low levels of anxiety, depression, just altogether worry that I never had faced before.



It started out being minor and unnoticeable because you just think people are speaking softly in office settings or that there is too much interference and other noise.  In short, not a hearing problem.  It's everyone else.  Hmm, I could not be more wrong.



So last year shortly after I turned 24, I was officially diagnosed with this condition.  As I learned, this is something that is genetic and passed onto my genes.  Initially, I dealt with guilt and self-blame.  Eventually I came to accept that this is a hardship I must endure... until I had a surgery called stapedotomy.  In Lehman's terms, they zap away the defective, hardening bone in your ear while you are under local anesthesia and does not involved cutting open your ear (thank God).  They perform this procedure using a precision laser, strapped down on a surgical table, and tilted (strange experience with the drugs too). 



In short, the surgery was a success.  I was able to hear a thousand times better immediately following the surgery, and the complete recovery takes about 4-6 months.  I suggest that anyone who has been diagnosed with this condition seriously consider this laser treatment.  I know it changed my life... even if I am just 26.
nicole1355 nicole1355
26-30, F
8 Responses Sep 15, 2006

I jsut went to the doc and they are pretty sure in have this also. I noticed you posted this a while back and i'm wondering how you are. I'm pretty freaked out!!!!!!

boy can I relate to this, thinking it is everyone else!! I felt that exact same way, like "why is everyone whispering"? haha I have to laugh so that I won't cry, I am 28 years old, and this is the LAST thing I expected to be a "problem" at this age!! :-( but thank you for the positive reinforcement about the surgery, I am scheduled to have one July 20, 2007. well the first ear, I'm going to have to get the other 6 months later. and about swimming and flying, my doc said 4-6 wks before doing those things! because of the change of air pressure, and water in ur ear can cause damage.

boy can I relate to this, thinking it is everyone else!! I felt that exact same way, like "why is everyone whispering"? haha I have to laugh so that I won't cry, I am 28 years old, and this is the LAST thing I expected to be a "problem" at this age!! :-( but thank you for the positive reinforcement about the surgery, I am scheduled to have one July 20, 2007. well the first ear, I'm going to have to get the other 6 months later. and about swimming and flying, my doc said 4-6 wks before doing those things! because of the change of air pressure, and water in ur ear can cause damage.

boy can I relate to this, thinking it is everyone else!! I felt that exact same way, like "why is everyone whispering"? haha I have to laugh so that I won't cry, I am 28 years old, and this is the LAST thing I expected to be a "problem" at this age!! :-( but thank you for the positive reinforcement about the surgery, I am scheduled to have one July 20, 2007. well the first ear, I'm going to have to get the other 6 months later. and about swimming and flying, my doc said 4-6 wks before doing those things! because of the change of air pressure, and water in ur ear can cause damage.

Hey RavenStar,<br />
<br />
They told me that I needed to wait a week to wash my hair and then when you wash it, you have to put something in your ear so that water doesn't get into it. I have to wait two weeks before I can blow my nose which is hard for me because I do have allergies and just about anything gets my sinuses irritated. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning because all I can do is sniff.<br />
<br />
They did not say what to do about swimming or flying in a plane. I guess you want to be careful with those too.<br />
<br />
I think you will feel much better if you just go ahead and do it.

When you say 4 -6 months for complete recovery, what exactly do you mean? What activities can you do in the mean time? How long before you could swim or fly in a plane? Or get your ears wet in the shower? I am very nervous to have mine done :(

That was a great article. I am 38 and I started to notice the problem about 2-3 years ago. Like you, I thought it was everyone else talking too softly. I went to my doctor who refused to send me to a specialist because she thought allergies were causing my hearing problem and just told me to take drugs. I went back to her several times telling her that it was not working. I finally got a new doctor who referred me to a specialist immediately and I found out that I had a problem but they still weren't sure yet that it was otosclerosis. They told me that I would have to wear a hearing aid for the rest of my life and that depressed me enough and then they told me that I would need surgery. I have already had many surgeries in the past 10 years and don't want to go through another one but I want the condition to be taken care of so I will be having it done in May.

Thanks for your article<br />
in a couple of months I will be having the same surgery after YEARS of poor hearing and feeling just like you