Monday, September 22, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

Because I can hear you...for now at least.

So my doctor ordered a hearing exam for me this morning b/c of all the tobramyacin I've been on lately. Strangely enough, I'm pretty sure this is the only ear exam I've ever had - aside from those random hearing tests they used to do on us at school every so often. The guy running the test thought that was a little weird too; he asked me when my last test was and I said never (unless I had one as a child and don't remember), and he definitely looked at me a little funny. Then he asked me how often I went on tobra and I had to tell him that I've been using the stuff every other month for at least 8 years, have been on it on IV form at least once a year since turning 16, and couldn't even recall how many times I've been on the IV in the past 2 years but definitely at least 4 since January. Wow. He was, to say the least, a little taken aback. To tell the truth so was I. I know I'm on IVs a lot, but to actually realize that I had LOST TRACK of how many times in the past 2 years was a little startling. Um, yeah, guess it's time for a hearing test.

For those of you unaware of all the little fun "perks" enjoyed by cystics - one of them happens to be that some of the antibiotics we take can lead to serious ear damage and hearing loss. Tobra is pretty much a prime example of this, so doctors are always warning patients to tell someone immediately if they hear a ringing in their ears, have ear aches, etc. I've been told this since I started on the old-school tobra when I was like 5 years old, but I've never really paid much attention. For one thing, my ears have always been fine, despite years of really loud music at fraternity parties and outdoor concerts. For another, I'm not exactly a quiet person most of the time, so I have to wonder if I would even HEAR a ringing in my ears were it to happen. In other words, it basically hadn't crossed my mind that I might actually have to deal with hearing loss due to my LUNG disease. But I've since learned that CF is a whole lot more fun than just lungs...

Anyway, this morning was actually a little nerve-wracking for me, precisely because I had never really thought about this particular issue. And also probably because I had no clue what to expect, which is odd for me in medical situations. It really wasn't a huge deal though. They basically put me in a room and performed some random tests on my eardrum reflexes using a little earbud-like thing, then the guy left the room and sat behind a glass window and made me repeat words back to him that he spoke into a microphone in my ears, and then they did the whole "raise your hand when you hear the beep" thing that I remember from school. And then he came back in and told me that I had "passed," but that my hearing on the low-end of the scale (bass) was on the lower side of normal. I asked him if I should be careful about tobra and he laughed. Apparently tobra causes hearing loss at the HIGHER frequencies, and my hearing at that level is quote: "absolutely perfect." He said my other hearing might just be naturally on the lower side (still normal, but not awesome) or that it might have been caused by something else. So I guess those concerts and fraternity parties might have left their mark after all.

All in all a long but painless experience. And the end to a SUPER busy (and fun) weekend!

1 comment:

  1. So we don't have to worry about you saying "what" all the time this weekend LOL

    I have never had a hearing test either except in elem school. But my hearing is great and sometimes too good so I think I am safe.

    Glad it all went well!!!