Thursday, 22 July 2010

Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear...

I've always had a lot of trouble with my ears. I've got several clear memories of myself as a child, miserably holding a hot-water bottle to my head in an attempt to ease the agony of earache. And another of me as a teenager having to go to the doctor and have a foreign body removed from my ear canal after attempting to cure earache with cotton wool.

My GP once told me that I must have small Eustachian tubes, a genetic gift I seem to have passed down to my children, who have almost all been similarly afflicted, and none more so than dd2, who is my mini-me. An almost dead-ringer for myself as a child. The same doctor had commented it must be the shape of our head. I'm not sure whether it was meant as a joke, but given the strong family resemblance, it wouldn't surprise me.

Most kids grow out of ear infections. The tubes get larger, sturdier. Less prone to gunking up. It's true that dd1 has grown out of it, as has ds. Dd3 hasn't had one for several years. Not so for me and dd2. Even now she's complaining about them, and there's a faint whiff of eau de mank. I'm sensing another trip to the GP if they don't clear up.

As for myself, the other night I went to bed and had the most horrible sensation in my left ear. It felt as though it was full of glue, I could even feel the tube sealing itself up. Most icky. And not only icky, but deafening. Now I fully understand the term "glue ear".  Hearing with only one ear is strange, because you can really appreciate the difference in the two volume levels. And it throws your balance all to cock.

Wellll, I'm the sort of person who just can't leave any damn thing alone. Including manky earholes. So, disregarding that sage medical advice, I had at it with judicious use of cotton buds and ear wax softening ointment - it didn't do anything worth a damn to my hearing, but it did clear out an extraordinary amount of wax.  

So this morning I've gotten up and there is no discernible difference between the hearing in one ear and the other. My celebrations were short-lived. The hearing hasn't come back fully in my left ear, but now my right ear is also deficient. I'm now deafer than yesterday. 

The other weird thing about glue ear, is that I can still hear, but some things are really hard to distinguish. The very worst thing is the speech of small girls and young women. I'm having real problems today understanding most of what is being said to me. 

Given the normal amount of noise in my house, I'll let you know if that's a good or a bad thing!

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