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.