Monday, May 4, 2009

My Ear, Part IV

Click to enlarge my unbelievable test results

So, following my course of antibiotics and prednisone, neither of which did anything except stop me from drinking for 4 days, I decided to return to Dr. Lim and tell her that my ears were still ringing. I went through the entire process again of booking a "follow up" appointment (aka, no extra charge), waiting in the waiting room with the blaring Good Morning America, and having Lim look in my ears, spritz crap in my nose, tell me that it was still clogged at which point I reminded her of that it had been clogged since my 2001 nosejob and there was no reason to think that in the week since I'd seen her last it would magically clear up and that a Ven diagram suggested that if my ears had only been ringing for a few weeks but my nosejob was eight wonderful years ago, the two circles did not overlap and the nosejob was not the cause of the ringing. She ignored me, filled out some forms and told me she was sending me for hearing tests. Mind you, she didn't ask whether I was having trouble hearing, and the appointment was at 8am so I was too tired to tell her that my hearing was fine, andshe wrote a referral form and gave me the names of 5 HEARING AID places to call for my tests, one of which was that horrible NY Eye & Ear Infirmary hellhole.

I go home, call one of the places to ask how much their hearing tests cost because I'm paying out of pocket due to my lack of insurance, and because it's a hearing aid place, the volume on their end of the phone is all the way up so they scream in my ear that it's $300 and I say, "no thanks, I'd rather go deaf but at least have some money," and then I proceed to complain to several people via Gchat about how absolutely ridiculous is that I was sent to get my hearing checked and that they're attempting to charge me $300 to ring some tones in my ear and tell me that my hearing is fine. Several people, including L.G. and my parents, insinuated that maybe there IS something wrong with my hearing and that maybe I'm just being defensive about it, which is patently false, but anyway the only way I could conclusively prove these people wrong and rub it in their faces was if I got my hearing checked. So I called back Audio Help Associates and told them to count me in for the $300.

This morning, I arrive for my 9am hearing test appointment and check in at the receptionist desk. Since this is a place for the hearing impaired, the receptionist SCREAMS at me "PLEASE HAVE A SEAT" and then SCREAMS again for me to fill out some forms which contain questions including rating things on a 0-5 scale, including "interest in improving your hearing aid device" and "comfort conversing with friends and loved ones." One of the "audiologists" (bizarre, made up profession) comes out and the receptionist whispers to him that I don't have insurance, believing me to be deaf, and the audiologist gives me the stink eye and whispers back to her "she's not my client" to which I reply "Hello, I'm Marin and I don't have insurance, here are my forms" which completely stuns both the receptionist and the audiologist because obviously they are accostomed to whispering shit about people directly in front of their faces.

As I'm waiting with two elderly men, my 28 year old "audiologist" comes out and takes me to a weird padded small chamber with bizarro 80s machinery involving dot matrix printouts. She sticks things in my ear that supposedly take "pressure measurements" and it becomes abundantly clear that the latest advances in audiology may also include blood letting, phrenology and application of virgin tears. She then puts the tone plugs in my ear and goes to a room facing me with a window and puts on a 1-800-Dentist headset and tells me through the head microphone that she will be playing tones and I should say "Yes" when I hear them. I obviously hear all the tones, even the sneaky ones and the longer silences that I know she was trying to trick me with, and after we're done with this exercise in lunacy she asks me to repeat words after she says them. So I'm sitting there in a chamber wearing earplugs, looking at this girl in a headset who is probably two people apart from me on Facebook, repeating words like "use" "toe" "cat" "stove" back to her and about to die of laughter and shame. Finally, she looks up at me and says into her headset microphone, "why are you here?" because I'm obviously kicking this hearing test's ass and I say, "I know, it is absolutely ridiculous," and I tell her that my ears have been ringing and that Dr. Lim sent me here to have my hearing checked but obviously my hearing is fine. She rolls her eyes and says "your hearing is average" and I said, "wait, do you mean like getting a C or like average as is my hearing is normal" and she said "your hearing is normal." Approximately seven minutes have elapsed into my test at this point, and she then takes me to back to the receptionist and permits them to charge me $305, in what comes out to $38 a minute. I then ask for a copy of my test results and the receptionist says "We can send it to you, our copier is broke" and I inform her that I just paid $305 for this test and I am a blogger and if she could kindly scan it and print it that would be ideal, so she scans and prints a copy.

As you can see, I received "Av" on my clinical interpretations (which I initially thought said "A+" but Aliza informed me that I was only fooling myself), in addition to "Excellent WRS." I also received two "Good"s and many "10"s and "100"s throughout this report, so at this time I would like to accuse L.G. and my parents of having worse hearing than me and also say in your face to them.


subdividedkid said...

I really hope the ringing stops, Marin.

Jennifer said...

You did complain that you felt like you had "cotton balls" in your ears Sunday morning - no connection to the awesome 80's-90's dance party we attended Saturday night!

Seeking said...

Am I the only one who keeps thinking of Van Gogh? Not that I am suggesting you cut it off...

::poltergasm:: said...

try diluted vinegar or citrus seed extract. in an emergency, try lemon or lime juice. i am not kidding or being a jerk--i have had similar problems. the stuffy, not the ringing; then again, i am daily aurally abused by my drummerspouse so i am unsure i would notice ringing beneath drumming.

but the abovenoted acidic mediums? work in case of fungal pestilence/pestering. imperfectly, but they do work. straight in the ear. if it's bad, it might give you vertigo--BE AWARE.

i did a lot of research to understand the medical issues w/ which i was confronted after our house was seriously flooded by a burst water main. i had been a tech writer, often on medical issues, so i had some idea of how to do this. as an aside, my mother was a doctor. not a well one, i will add, no more well than am i. but from all this i had & have some idea of what i was & am doing.

give it a shot. it cant hurt & it might help.