Ear Infection

I have not been up the mountain in two weeks. This is getting to be a problem, there is a long list of stuff I need to get done.

An ear infection has made life a little troublesome.

Ear Anatomy
Anatomy of the human ear, credit Bruce Blaus
Beside the usual discomfort involved in an ear infection I had no hearing in my left ear. Pretty much none. I have had difficulty hearing conversations, can not tell where sounds are coming from, the normal sounds of life replaced with a constant ringing and white noise background. After several days of this I was getting to be more than a little concerned. Permanent hearing loss is not a comfortable idea.

The loss of hearing in one ear is interesting and highly annoying. I discovered that I answer the phone with my left ear. The better to keep my right hand available for a keyboard or dialing. Then I wonder why no one is answering. Even worse… Music sounds horrible. That stereo thing? Not much point. Even worse with headphones.

After a week of no real improvement the doctor stepped up the treatment level… A full course of antibiotics and steroids. The antibiotics for obvious reasons, the steroids to reduce the inflammation, and to hopefully avoid any damage to my hearing.

Antibiotics and Steroids
Antibiotics and steroid medications
Deb has had to take steroids more than a few times. She was more than happy to explain, at length, the various side effects of Prednisone. In fact she seemed almost gleeful in that I would get to experience what she has had to go through. She did warn me… Insomnia? Check. Hunger? Check. It made for great dinner conversation. Perhaps I should work out a bit, take advantage of the steroids?

A visit to an audiologist confirmed highly degraded hearing in the left ear. I could hear a bit with the left, anything loud enough turned into a buzzing caricature of speech. Tests on my right ear to use as a comparison yielded pleasant results, my hearing is otherwise in very good shape, my wife’s comments not-withstanding.

The drugs are working, or perhaps the infection is just healing on its own. The discomfort faded fairly quickly, the ringing reduced a bit in volume. Hearing is slowly returning, high frequencies first, but still has a ways to go.

I hope this will be healed enough that next week I can go to the summit. I really need to get a few things accomplished up top. Slowly better is good, as long as the trend continues in the right direction.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

One thought on “Ear Infection”

  1. Good to hear you’re on the mend. I listened to an audiobook that talked about how Brian Wilson was deaf in one ear, most didn’t know, so when the Beach Boys came out with the groundbreaking ‘Pet Sounds’ album it was done in mono, he gave some other excuse (not hearing related) as to mixing and releasing it in mono.

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