I can’t hear you — I’ve got a banana in my ear!

Published on March 27, 2010 by

Oh, wait, that’s not it.

I’m just partially deaf in one ear, that’s what it is.

(Waits for his family’s chorus of “You need Miracle-Ear!” to die down.  In-joke.)

Back when I was in law school, I noticed that I had trouble hearing my alarm clock with my left ear if my right ear was blocked (by, for example, a pillow). I went and had my hearing tested at a hearing aid store, and they told me it was probably just an excess build-up of wax.  I really didn’t feel like the people at that store took me seriously, and it kind of soured me on looking into the matter any further.

I tried some ear wax removal kits over the years, but never really saw much improvement.

But then again, with the exception of the alarm clock, I didn’t really notice that my hearing was different in my left ear from my right.  Stereo music still sounded stereo.  Sounds still sounded like they came from where they were coming from, rather than being biased toward the right.

However, there were times I had difficulty understanding what people said, especially soft-spoken women.  And sometimes I needed the TV volume higher than other people, and even on my own, I got in the habit of watching TV with subtitles turned on.

A couple of days ago, I finally had my hearing tested again, at Costco. Definitely no wax buildup, according to the guy who conducted my test.

Hearing in my right ear is within normal range.

But my left ear…

hearing

To interpret the chart for you, in my left ear I have normal hearing at frequencies below speech cues, mild loss for lower frequency speech cues, moderate loss for higher frequency speech cues, and borderline moderate/severe loss in the frequencies above speech cues (which is about where my alarm clock sounds).

I tried out a sample hearing aid set to boost the frequencies I have trouble with, and it was quite a noticeable improvement.  So even though I’ve been getting along fairly well without one, at some point in the future (especially if I feel the need to listen more closely to a soft-spoken woman) I will get a hearing aid.

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4 comments on “I can’t hear you — I’ve got a banana in my ear!”

  1. You can miss out on a lot by not listening when a woman speaks softly. And puts her gentle soft hand on your arm. And so on.

  2. Ami Chopine says:

    I\’ll keep that in mind the next time I know we\’ll run in to each other.

  3. I wonder how long it has been like that and if there was an incident that caused it. I worked with a director who had hearing loss in the range my voice fell in, but didn’t know it, so in production meetings all the guys would be talking normally and I’d have to shout.