Friday, January 23, 2015

Tinnitus update; college

Since finishing the steroids, it seems the new tinnitus sounds have faded away.  I don't notice that annoying musical tune that I kept hearing over and over, and I think I was still hearing a bit of the crackling/tapping sound but it was very quiet and almost unnoticeable.  I am definitely happy about that.  I still have the usual old tinnitus as always (ringing or buzzing or even sirens...!) but I know that is something I will probably be living with for the rest of my life, and getting the implant didn't help with that.  But I am most definitely happy the new sounds are gone.  I can deal with the old usual sounds that I've had for ... well.. forever.  But the new sounds, not so much.

New semester has started at the college this week and so far so good!  Photography instructor is hard to understand, and he admitted to mumbling too.  He said he would try to enunciate more for me.  I told him I would be bringing in my FM unit, in hopes I can hear him better in class.  ASL 3 is going well so far.  The ASL class set up is interesting, as both ASL 3 and 4 classes are combined.  There are only 3 or 4 level 4 students, and maybe 5 level 3 students.  Interesting.... The ASL instructor is still trying to figure out a system to balance both levels in one class. 

In a way, I'm happy the new semester as started.  I have classes to take, stuff I can focus on.  I am really excited about the photography class; it is black and white film photography.  I took a class in 9th grade and enjoyed it!  Since I have decided to switch to General Studies for my major, I'm just taking classes that will fulfill the credit hours needed to graduate with the Associate degree.  Photography will be a fun one, for sure.  Have decided to do Intro to Music, which ought to be interesting.  There will be times when we have to listen to certain music that's associated with our text book, and I thought this would be an interesting way to do auditory training. Am also taking a Developmental Psychology class online, and a PE class (fitness training).  Better go find my AB Snuggies/Huggies so I can keep my Naidas on my ears while I'm working out!  I found one Snuggie so far, but don't know where the pack with the other snuggies are, so will have to dig through my AB boxes at home.  More than likely it will either be in my Harmony box, or my extra supplies box.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Denver trip

Made my way down to Denver with my mom and stepdad last Thursday for follow up and mapping. After Christmas, I started experiencing new tinnitus sounds in my right ear, which was obnoxiously annoying and driving me up the wall.  These sounds would keep playing over and over.  One is a musical tune that repeats all the time, 24/7, whether or not I have the processor on.  The other, at first, sounded like a bubble wrap being popped, but that evolved into more like rapid tapping/clacking/etc.  I only hear this sound if I don't have the processor on or if it's quiet. Augh!  Sent a few emails to my audiologist about this, trying to figure out what is going on.

So on Thursday, audie hooked up my Naidas to the computer (which was running slow that day, which frustrated the audie). She ran the impedance test.  Left ear looks like, right where the impedances need to be.  Right ear was a different story.  First few impedances were fine, but past that they were not where they need to be.  Her theory is that perhaps because the high frequency levels are still pretty low, they're not "kicking off" proteins that are gathering/building up on the electrode array in my cochlea, and perhaps that's why I'm having these new tinnitus sounds. She upped the levels a bit, made the 3rd slot to be 100% ComPilot only so I can listen to music (or whatever I'm using the ComPilot with) without also having to hear anything else around me. Yay!  Since the computer was so slow, we just did 3 programs on the Naidas, and we'll go from there with more upped levels when I see her again in April when she plans on coming up to Wyoming.  She did a quick hearing test on me in the sound booth, where I scored around 83% with just the right ear alone in speech comprehension with sentences. Not too bad! Higher frequency parts during the sentences I struggled with, but we'll keep slowly upping the levels as time goes on.

Mom and I went to lunch at the hospital cafeteria, then came back to the clinic for my appointment with the doctor. We talked about the new tinnitus sounds, and he wonders if there's some inflammation going on. The inflammation could also explain the off impedance results audie observed as well.  He looked in my ears, said everything looked good.  Called in a prescription for steroids, in hopes that would help if there is inflammation contributing to the tinnitus. He mentioned 2 different options, steroids, or diuretics.  Says usually get quicker results with the steroids, and only 5 days; whereas with diuretics takes longer to see results and one would have to take it for longer as well. So starting with steroids. Also requested to see me again in April. Wait what? Ok then.

Started the steroids on Friday after we got back home.  Got back into town around 3, so I was able to go to Walgreens to pick up the prescription, and also run out to the vet to pick up my dog from boarding. Yay!  Am almost done with the steroids treatment course, and so far no real changes with the tinnitus that I've noticed.  I'll finish off the doses and give it a bit more time, and keep in touch with the clinic.