Yesterday, a friend helped me find the audiologist at the University of Minnesota. I could have figured it out if I had to by myself, but it was nice to be with someone who knew the neighborhood.
My audiologist in Louisiana gave me the standard hearing test which indicated borderline/mild hearing loss. He gave me amplifiers; they helped a little, but they didn’t explain why I was still having difficulty with traffic, sound localization, noisy places and crowds, and not hearing some sounds correctly. Sometimes I have trouble with endings of words like mouse/mouth, beef/beans, first/fourth, second/seventh, etc. I was at the audiologist yesterday. First, they did the standard stuff.: checked my ears for wax or fluid, tested eardrum mobility, and did the test with the 8 high to low frequency tones. It confirmed the borderline/mild hearing loss on my last audiogram, but they suggested doing the test for audio processing disorder. I’ve heard of it in some of my reading for teaching and research, but I wasn’t very familiar with it. First, they had me listen to speech with no background noise at conversational volume, and I only missed shall and said shell. People with standard auditory processing ability score 7 to 13 on all of these tests. Next, there was the man speaking in a muffled voice, and I got a 5. After that, I had to repeat words. They played one word in my left ear and one in my right ear at the same time. I had to first repeat the one in the right then the one in the left. I scored a one. Next, I had to just repeat the one in the right ear, and then just the one in the left ear and scored a 1 on both of those.
There was a test to repeat words with restaurant noise, and I scored a one. Finally, they played two different sentences in each ear at the same time, and I had to ignore the one in my right ear. Sometimes, I could repeat only the beginning, the sentence with some words left out, or only the end. I scored a 1 on these tests too.
The audiologist said there were sound therapies or more tests I could take if I wanted. However, she said the diagnosis was clear, and the sound therapy research showed that it didn’t improve people’s ability to distinguish sounds more easily, so I’m not going to do it. She recommended a personal amplifier, which I already have, and an FM system. I wear receivers on my ears, and someone else has the wireless microphone. If my vocational rehab can pay for it, that would help me, especially when I’m around many children or need to hear people who are further away from me.
After that, I went to the health center. The lecture was about probiotics and how they help build back the good flora and bacteria in the gut after a candida infection. Then, I had a meeting with the mental health counselor. I just filled out basic information and told her how I ended up at the center. Finally, there was a video May I be Frank? It was about a man who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and it showed his recovery from start to finish. It was realistic and one of the best videos I’ve seen here so far. It also makes me thankful I’m not detoxing from alcohol and drugs like many in my group at the HRC.