June 4, 2012

Hearing Less, Listening More …

This is a hard post to write.  It seems like writing it makes it completely official. Like I’ve come to terms with it and acknowledge it as truth.

I am losing my hearing.

Three and a half years ago when I was pregnant with Owlie, I had a period of about a month when there was a very loud ringing in my right ear that significantly impaired my hearing.  I went to my family doctor who checked everything out and told me it was most likely due to the hormones of pregnancy and would eventually go away.  I was relieved that he was correct. The annoyance ended and I went back to my life as if it had never happened.

About three weeks ago the ringing in my ear came back in full force, louder than I had ever experienced before, reducing my hearing in that ear by at least 50%. It’s the first thing I hear when I wake up in the morning. It’s the last thing I hear when I go to bed at night. It is my constant companion and quite possibly the most annoying thing I’ve ever encountered.

On Friday before we left to go to the beach I was able to sneak in a quick visit to an ENT in our area.  I was sure he was going to tell me I had some wax blocking my ear or fluid behind my ear drum causing the problem. Instead he told me I was losing my hearing.

I have Otosclerosis, a hereditary stiffening of the ear bones.    Unfortunately, unlike most of the bones in the body, which are meant to be stiff, the ear bones need to be flexible to vibrate in order to receive/register sound.

The doctor indicated that the incident during my pregnancy with Owlie was most likely the onset of my Otosclerosis. He said it is common for it to occur in middle-aged Caucasian women during pregnancy. If someone had told me four years ago that having another baby would cause me to lose my hearing, I still would have had my baby. I love my Owlie boy so much! But it is a bittersweet realization, this knowledge that I now have.

Here’s what I don’t know: Will it affect my left ear too? Am I going to be completely deaf? Will I get to hear my children’s voices and my husband whispering ‘I love you’ in my ear for the rest of my life? Or will my life be a silent one with no music, no laughter, no little voices?

Here’s what I do know:  I already have significant hearing loss in my right ear.  There is a surgical option once the hearing is worse, and it will get worse. I will most likely wear a hearing aid in the future. The ringing may go away. It may not.  It may go away and come back again throughout my life.

The most important thing I DO KNOW is that God will not give me a challenge or trial that I cannot handle. I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to learn to trust Him even more.  If I have to hear less, I will listen to him in my heart more. He will guide my life as He has always done and all will be well.

I will listen more because I hear less.  This means when one of my kids is speaking to me, I literally have to stop what I am doing, turn to see lips moving and listen carefully.  Maybe that is what I am to learn here – the true art of listening, not just hearing.

I am a blessed woman. I have a loving family, dear friends, a God in whom I can trust and a Savior, Jesus Christ, who has borne all my sorrows and pains. This trial is a small thing.  And I can do it.

If you’d like to learn more about Otosclerosis, the easiest to understand article I’ve found is here.


The Queen Vee said...

Dearest DF,

I cried when you told me and then I thought...she's strong, she's brave, she's wise, she has faith, she will meet the challenge head on....and so you have and I know you will continue to do so.

If I could take this problem upon myself I would but there's some things a mother just can't do for a beloved child and so I will support, encourage, empathize and pray for you and help where I can.

In everyone's life some rain must fall, the important thing is to have the right umbrella to get you through the storm and you have it.

I love you more, always have and always will.

brendag said...

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. Thank you for sharing this, I know that I (and I am sure many others) will come back to this post and gather strength from your beautiful testimony. You are in my prayers.

Tobi said...

I've been thinking about how fascinating our bodies are. One tiny piece malfunctions and suddenly our lives are changed forever. I will pray for you Samantha. I know that all things are possible through our Savior who loves us.

Aiketa said...

I'm so sorry to read that, Samantha. I thought the same when you said that you had lost hearing, that the ENT would find some wax, and that he would easily solve your problem.

I am sorry it's not that easy, and I understand that this ringing must be really annoying...

But as the wise Queen Vee said, you are such a strong woman with lots of faith. I know you will manage it the best way possible!

I'm sending a really really big hug your way, Samantha!!!

The Dragonfly said...

I'm totally with you Tobi! And when I consider that the bones that are giving me trouble are only the size of a milimeter, I marvel even more!

MelancholySmile said...

I'm so sorry! How cruel, that if you have to lose your hearing, you must also be plagued by that awful ringing. You'd think you could at least count on some peace and quiet at the very least, right? ;)

As always, your attitude of faith inspires me. You're in my prayers.

PS- I've had times in my life when I've lost my voice, and been forced to communicate with my children face to face-- it turned out to be such a blessing. I love that you mention listening more as one of the blessings of your particular trial. It's not just a platitude, but a real, immense, change-your-life blessing. *hugs*

Ronalin said...

Dear friend, you always amaze me and inspire me. You will be blessed because you do listen so well to that small voice that teaches truth, you'll continue to see and hear miracles in your life. Love you tons!

squeezeme said...

Dear Sammy,
I read your tender post, then I read my scriptures and in my study I read, "My heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me..."
Alma 31:31

My heart aches for this new twist in your life's journey. Yet, your thoughts on listening more are profound and beautiful. You have and will continue to listen with your heart and God has and will continue to use you as an instrument in His hands.

You are a woman of great faith and I adore you!

I can picture us rocking in white rockers on one of our front porches, you with your hearing aid and me with my cane, because macular degeneration runs in my family.... I'll be your ears and you'll be my eyes!

I love you, dear friend.

Chris said...

Sam, Liz sent me to read your post, and I must admit, it was difficult to read without a tear. And then to read your mom's note... But you are so right when you say that God wouldn't put something in your path that you could not handle with grace. Prayers for you and yours. xo

TracyS. said...

I am sorry for this new twist in your life. You are a strong and beautiful woman and I know the Lord will give you strength to face this challenge.

Stacey Gerlach Moe said...

Wow, Sam. This was a powerful post. I am sorry you are having to go through it, but when reading your post I realized that if anyone can find the positive in this, it is you! You continue to amaze me!

AllisonK said...

Once again your faith and your strong spirit move me to trust the Lord and fill me with such joy in your association. You are in my prayers. all my love

Anonymous said...

Hi Samantha

You should check out Dr. Berard's Auditory Integration Training (AIT). My son just finished the 10 day program and I've witnessed a drastic improvement in his hearing and concentration. It was started by Dr. Berard who was diagnosed with Tinnitus (ringing in the ear). Dr. Susie Glaub in McLean is licensed to give the treatment. Here is the link for more info:



Apis Melliflora said...

I'm glad you are in my life to inspire and comfort me even in the midst of trials. Thank you sweet sister.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear this news. Thank you for your inspiration of faith and your beautiful testimony of the Savior. I needed that.

You may want to check out ksl.com. There is a news story similar to yours. The date was Nov. 17, 2011 and it was titled, "Mother Goes Deaf after Delivering Child." Maybe there is something there to help you in your situation.

My prayers are with you. You are touching and changing so many lives with your daily words. Thank you so much.

Meaja said...

My daughter was just diagnosed with this as well and it breaks my heart. My hearing loss isn't hereditary so finding out that M'li's condition is and that her hearing is going to gradually get worse as she ages is harder on me than her. She says "I'll be okay mom, you are!"

I'm so sorry you are experiencing this now after knowing what it's like to hear perfectly. But you hit it on the nail, learning to stretch and listen and feel people talk is a deeper form of connection in a conversation. Not everyone is good at this and it takes A LOT of practice.

Love our attitude and your courage! YOU can do hard things.

Heather L. said...

I am so sorry. You have a great attitude, and your faith will certainly see you through this. Sending prayers your way!!!

Kasey said...

Bummer diagnosis. I am happy for you that you have found the problem that has been causing all your issues so you can now move forward to the next step. I marvel at your courage and strength.

Sue said...

My dear Sammy, my heart mourns for you and this new challenge in your life. I have also been facing some health issues with long-term implications. Your attitude of hope and seeing the glass half full is refreshing.

I have been reading in Alma and I came across something yesterday that gave me some hope. Alma 41:2 "for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order." Alma is teaching about the resurrection and while I look forward to that day with great anticipation, this also made me think of the possibilities of restoration during this earth life. The Lord has blessed man with so much knowledge and technology in the medical field, He is providing the way for miracles to occur every day. Perhaps through modern medicine, you and I can look forward to some restoration and relief from our ailments in the future.

I love you and send you a big long hug through the cosmos!