By now, just about all my friends know I am Hard Of Hearing (HOH). That being said, only a few know just how HOH I really am. In recent years I have, sometimes conscientiously and sometimes un-conscientiously, withdrawn from “normal” social society. Concerts, meetings, parties and other gatherings of more than a few participants, are impossible for me. If one can not hear, and more importantly, understand then it is a most uncomfortable experience.

It is not easy to confess that after nineteen years wearing hearing aids, that I had never been examined by a Ear Nose and Throat specialist. I’m not sure about why that is, but I decided to ask for such an examination through my primary care physician. Subsequently, I have learned this is not unusual. Unless there is some sudden change in hearing, it is assumed that any problem with hearing is a matter for an audiologist who can prescribe a hearing aid to amplify sound for you.

I had not had an audiogram done in several years. That examination revealed that I had profound asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss. There was hardly anything useful coming through my left ear and the right ear was seriously affected. The opinion was that if I wanted to pursue it – I was a valid candidate for a cochlear implant.

Moving forward, I am scheduled for implantation on May 6 at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. That sentence just glossed over several months of grappling with insurance, travel arrangements, more examinations and endless waiting that has been the core of this experience to date. It’s hard not to complain, and I do complain, but I am also grateful for the people who have advocated for me and helped me to navigate these stormy medical – insurance waters. Thank you.

I’m sorry, but I have to add this: Single Payor universal health care would fix this in a heartbeat.

Now I wait. My operation is three weeks away and I am a nervous basket case. It could be said that this is a growth experience for me – admitting such a weakness – but I choose to think of it as simple acknowledgement of my delightful humanity. How’s that for a juicy rationalization? Anyway, it’s all I can think about. There is more and I’ll seek to deal with it in later posts. Thank you for reading.

Be well – Stay tuned

Jerry Henderson

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