A question, dear readers. What do a washing machine and hearing impairment have in common? Most likely your answer is “nothing,” isn’t it?
For me, however, this answer would be wrong. For me, a washing machine and hearing impairment really are connected to each other and I will explain to you why.
Yesterday I had a colonoscopy as a preventive measure. I do this every five years, on the advice of my doctor. When I was back home, had a coffee and had eaten (yes, in that exact order!), I wanted to lie down for a moment. After a bad night, preparations for the colonoscopy and some sleeping infusion given during the examination, I was quite tired and needed a nap.
Since it sleeps particularly uncomfortably with hearing aids, I had removed the two hearing aids.
After a while, however, I became aware of a certain sound. The noise was similar to the sound of a washing machine spinning, or the turning of a concrete mill and was very predominant in my head. I was even tempted to get up and see if our washing machine wasn’t really spinning, if it wasn’t so that I was 100% sure that I hadn’t touched the washing machine that day and as I do the washing for my husband and myself, the chance was probably 0 that my husband had switched on the washing machine.
That could only mean one thing: the sound was in my head and not real. My tinnitus (= ringing in the ears) had become very loud.
Usually I hear a whistle sound, like a boiling teakettle (see also the article https://reneeiseli.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/37/). The last few years have seen the addition of a humming noise, such as the spinning of a washing machine or concrete mill. So I’m used to these noises.
But yesterday the humming was so loud that it even became a disturbing factor for me and I could hardly ignore it like I do otherwise. I couldn‘t take my nap and after an hour or so I got up again and put my hearing aids back on.
To my surprise, the “washing machine” was still loud and could not be drowned out by the normal everyday sounds, the way it works normally for me.
Probably the given sleeping infusion were to blame for the strong slinging and only this morning, after a good night’s sleep the slinging was back to its normal volume.
I had previously asked the doctor if the sleeping infusion could damage my hearing because I knew that many anaesthetics and some antibiotics can actually be harmful to the hearing, especially if a hearing is already damaged. But the doctor denied and I had not expected this tinnitus intensifying effect. For me, the effects were only temporary, but sometimes it can be different.
However, I would like to stress out to all hearing impaired people who have to be anaesthetised because of an operation: first discuss with your doctor or anaesthetist whether the drug may not be harmful to you and what effects you can expect. If you absolutely need a potential anaesthetic and there is no alternative, you should at least discuss the consequences for your hearing impairment with your doctor or anaesthetist.
I am not saying this, and I repeat, not to frighten you, but only because precisely this information is so little known, even to doctors.
And it applies not only to narcotics, but also to other drugs, especially antibiotics. Many antibiotics have a detrimental effect on hearing, so if you need an antibiotic, always talk to your doctor about whether it is the right drug for you. It could avoid unpleasant surprises.
Well, if you don’t mind me saying so, I’m going to do another washing now …