Monday, 25 June 2007


I knew I couldn't blame the whole thing on Laura - I've been putting off my first visit to the audiologist for a year or so. But what finally inspired me to make an appointment was a Boingboing link to this amazing blog post by Jamais Cascio. As he chooses his first hearing aids, he riffs on the idea of not just reducing the impact of his "handicap" but also enhancing his physical body and becoming a cyborg.

This dovetailed with something I've been mulling over lately. I had a crap childhood, was suicidal as a teenager, and as a young adult I had moderate episodes of depression that decreased to mild episodes as I got older. I lived through it all without any psychoactive prescribed drugs like antidepressants. I refused to take these drugs as a young adult because I wasn't going to give over control of my psyche to some doctor/authority figure. I needed to get my sh*t together myself. I think that was the right decision as a young adult, but now I'm an empowered middle aged woman who could do my own research and partner with a psychiatrist. I've mulled over the question - if I have another moderate episode of depression, would I consider taking drugs? I don't see any reason why not. I've worked through my crap childhood in years of therapy, and if any remaining depression can be alleviated by drugs, I'm happy to use them. We're all just evolutionary splats against the wall - sometimes mistakes, sometimes brilliant random masterpieces. In that case, what is a "natural" state? Why is a "natural" unmedicated state preferable to an "unnatural" medicated state? Are we such slaves to evolution that we must bow down the random genes that we were allotted? And isn't it evolution itself which produced our ability to biologically or technologically enhance ourselves?

I hadn't looked at my hearing loss from that point of view. But Jamais helped me see it that way. So I popped off to an audiologist this morning, and the rest is history - or at least, the future of this blog.

A beautiful story

About a hard of hearing/deaf software geek's quest to program his cochlear ear implant so that he can hear Ravel's Bolero again. Fab. Link.

Otosclerosis gene discovered

The Bloomberg piece
Times Online
An "Eyewitness News" piece.
The scientist who made the connection between TGBF1 and otosclerosis is Melissa Thys.

So I really AM going deaf!

I admit it, I blamed it all on my group's soft-spoken admin assistant Laura. If she would only SPEAK UP! But actually I have been complaining about not hearing stuff for about a year. And in the 5 months since I moved home from Paris to Sydney, I've had a string of bad colds. At the height of each cold I've felt a little panicky for a couple days as I really couldn't hear well at all. And I need to lie on my left side to watch telly on the sofa because when my right ear is pressed against a pillow I can't understand what they are saying... So I grudgingly admitted to myself that the reason I can't hear the lovely Laura might just be my fault and not hers. My fabulous GP sent me to get a hearing test. I expected not to have a problem. But apparently I have moderate conductive hearing loss in my left ear.

The nice audiologist told me that he isn't a doctor - I'll have to go see a specialist next - but that my hearing chart looks like I have otosclerosis. I asked if stuffy sinuses could produce the same effect and he said yes. So hopefully it will turn out to be a sinus problem. But after skimming a few articles on otosclerosis on the net, I have to admit that it sounds like me. It is most common in middle aged white women, for example. I am a 36 year old white woman. It is often hereditary. My father was complaining about his hearing going when he died in his late forties. It starts in one ear before moving to the other...

Well, I'm a blogger by nature. So I'm going to use this blog as a way to collect my online research findings and connect with other people who have otosclerosis to hear thier stories and get tips on how to deal. Hi everybody! I'm Beth, and I may have otosclerosis. Please leave comments and tell me your story.