Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Living with a hearing loss March 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:37 AM
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I hear only static and ringing in my right ear after a sudden hearing loss a year ago.

MOST OF THE TIME simply stating I am deaf in my right ear is easier than trying to explain how, a year ago, I lost 70 percent of the hearing in my right ear in an unexplained episode of sudden sensory hearing loss.

Hundreds of times since last March, I’ve repeated, “I am deaf in my right ear,” then turned my left ear toward whomever is speaking to me and asked them to repeat what they’ve just said.

This is not easy, this missing out on conversations, this always conscious effort to remember to sit or walk on the right side of a person. It is exhausting and frustrating and sometimes I just give up.

If I’m in a roomful of people, I may as well sit by myself in a corner. Hearing any snippet of conversation unless I move in close and concentrate is nearly impossible.

About now, you’re likely thinking, “Oh, Audrey, don’t be so vain, just get a darned hearing aid.”

Oh, believe me, if a hearing aid would improve my hearing, I would have one. I cried when an audiologist told me a hearing aid will not work with my type of hearing loss. Yes, I’ve been to specialists, done the MRI, the whole nine yards.

Nothing will change the fact that the door to hearing in my right ear slammed shut in an instant on a Friday afternoon in March of 2011.

In the grand scheme of health issues, hearing loss ranks rather low. Sure it’s inconvenient and annoying and bothersome. But it is not deadly or painful or totally life-altering. I can live with this disability.

And there’s at least one benefit. I live along a busy street, meaning traffic can sometimes keep me awake. Now I need only sleep with my right ear up, left ear pressed against the pillow. And, come morning if I’m still sleeping in that position, I won’t hear the alarm.

CLICK HERE to read my first post last March about this hearing loss.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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8 Responses to “Living with a hearing loss”

  1. hotlyspiced Says:

    Oh Audrey, that is terrible. To think it was for no apparent reason and that it happened so suddenly and that nothing can be done about it. I’m so sorry for you. I have a friend who is deaf in one ear and I always seem to forget which ear it is and talk on to her endlessly and then realise she only heard half of what I was saying. She gets annoyed too but not terribly because she was born with hearing only in one ear and I’m sure that is easier to accept than having had hearing and then lost it. xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The reason for my hearing loss is unexplained…could have been a virus or related to ear trauma from a few years earlier when water pounded my ear at a waterpark. The specialists didn’t really know. But I do know the precise moment I lost my hearing; it was that sudden. I can live with it, as long as I can still hear in my other ear.

  2. How is it that I got so far behind in reading posts lately? Goodness. It is still shocking to read about this – even though we’d discussed it before. It’s just so wrong! I will read your older post about it for sure. I’m curious how your attitude about it has changed over the past year? I suppose it’s easier now?


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