11:46 AM, Friday, December 29th, 2017:
So this is terrifying.
I've always had sinus issues (can't breathe through my nose) and whenever I get sick, although I fight the cold/flu/whatever quickly, I have congestion in my right ear for months. Literal months. Often until the next time that I get sick. My eustachian tubes are blocked so nothing drains. For whatever reason the right one is worse than the left and I have a roughly 50% hearing loss in my right ear and have for years. I'm pretty accustomed to it and your brain is an amazing instrument that can adapt to the information it gets. When working on sound-mixing, I have levels to look at and no not to trust my ears. I also know my right ear is muffled and bass-heavy, so I do that type of mixing with my left ear. It somehow works. Still dizzy as fuck at night if I can't see, but again - your brain is pretty adept at adapting.
However, since Thanksgiving? Both ears are now completely blocked. The ENT I had been going to called me the day before Thanksgiving to tell me my sinuses were fine, just swollen and I should see an allergist. That took some work, but now that's scheduled and just maybe I've had an allergy that doesn't show up in blood tests that will solve all of this. And I have to say? It fucking needs to, because I'm about to have a mental breakdown.
At first? Being functionally deaf is fascinating. The ENT did the little bone conduction test and my hearing was fine, so this is all to do with my middle ear being full of shit that will not drain because I'm constantly inflamed and swollen. The fascinating part is that my hearing is similar to a normal person just having a cup over their ears, or I guess your finger in your ear. In fact, right now, if I put my finger in my ear? It's identical to how I hear without my finger in my ear. It's absolutely bizarre. I have no idea how I can hear anything, except of course my own breathing sounds like a horror film 24-7. And coughing, talking or clearing my throat? Holy shit. Awful. So loud and jarring.
The other fascinating part at the beginning is that your brain can take the available audio information mixed with lip-reading and presumption of words and figure shit out pretty well. Like, what I'm actually hearing is so muddled (imagine all vowel sounds with no beginnings or ends - kinda like Charlie Brown's teacher) you cannot understand A THING... but because my brain is already assuming what's about to be said and comparing that to how the lips are moving? Throw in that muddled vowel sound and voila: you've got yourself some real sentences there.
However, now that both ears have been blocked for well over a month? I'm starting to lose it a little. I can't mix the documentary and any social situation is so isolating and depressing it's hard to function. Deafness forces this filter on everything like you're watching a movie. You can't really connect with anyone because it actually feels like they're in a film you're watching that's just at a really low volume. Add-in the fact that YOUR VOICE is SO LOUD and even your breathing is overwhelming, you're immediately taken out of the reality of it. You become this participant in a virtual reality and you almost forget you can be seen sometimes. Again, fascinating at first? Then so wildly depressing and isolating you just want to curl up into a ball. As days have turned into weeks and now months? I have to fix this. If this allergist can't figure this shit out I'm going to demand that my ENT do surgery ASAP. They can put tubes in to clear out your middle ear - it's a temporary fix, but at this point, I'm running out of options.
Thanks to years of sound-mixing I was able to put together a little video of what it sounds like, applying filters even though I'm still presently going through this.
If you really concentrate and watch his lips? You can totally get what Don is saying but in a crowd? At a restaurant or with more than 2 people in the room or with a FUCKING TV on? Fahgeddaboutit. Shit ain't happenin'.
So that's how I end this year and, well, fuck. Let's hope we can get to the bottom of this as soon as possible because I'm not kidding: it's giving me the heebie-jeebies. At least if I was actually going deaf I'd have a plan of action and something to wrap my head around. This is just torture.