Auditory Updates

Sorry for the lack of posts recently (all two of you reading my blog, hah) - it's midterm week, and I've been MIA studying like mad. The good news is midterm #1 is done, midterm #2 is tomorrow, and then a weekend trip to visit the (hopefully) future in-laws is in store, so hooray!

Last we "spoke," I was feeling pretty cruddy from that listening program. My awesome OT told me that my symptoms were atypical, and to stop using the device while we figured out what else to do with sensitive little me. She sent me to an audiologist, just to confirm that my hearing instrument was normal, and we weren't missing something truly physiological.

L. met me with her two interns (hi guys!) and treated me to a battery of hearing tests in what can best be described as a completely-sound-proof-booth. My ears were plugged up, and a series of beeps and boops followed - some high-pitched, some low-pitched, some barely audible. L. also read a series of words that I had to strain to hear and repeat. Afterwards, I was attached to what felt like a clamp on the back of my head (really some instrument to convey beeps and boops via bone conduction). When completed, I left the booth, and they hooked me up to another instrument in the office, plugged up my ears, and sent more beeps and boops my way. We were about a round and a half into this test when - completely out of nowhere - I began to cry.

This wasn't an emotional cry - one where I was entertaining any hurtful or wistful thoughts. In fact, I wasn't thinking about anything at time time, aside from how interesting it was that the office wall was painted like a landscape, yet I couldn't stop the tears. I felt them well up, the intensity grow, and the inability to stop, especially as the beeps and boops got louder. L. asked her interns to stop the test, and asked if I was ok - I truly was, I wasn't hurting in any way, but it almost felt as if somehow through the particular tones and loudness of sounds, I was being forced to cry. I stopped the moment the test was completed, feeling completely fine. L. commented that I was "super-sensory." I thought back to the listening device, and how I felt a greater propensity towards tears, as well as the myriad of activities in my life - loud, bright, busy - that made me fight back tears, assuming I was just feeling beaten by this then-nameless disorder.

The long and the short of it is no one knows why I'm so sensitive. L. and my OT called this an "auditory reflex," a perfect description for a reaction I didn't see coming and didn't feel emotionally-attached to at all. It felt the same as when a doctor strikes your knee with a little metal hammer, causing your leg to jump - except it was sound instead of a hammer, and jumping meant tears.

I'm going back to the listening device next week, starting with the bone conduction bit turned off. It's true, I listen to my iPod just fine, so the intensity of the bone conduction is the only outlying variable.

Ah, SPD. You always keep me on my toes, you wily disorder. Took me 27 years to learn your name, and just when I think I've got you pinned down and defined, you manage to slip out from under me, leaving specialists shaking their heads in your wake.


  1. It's so great that they can tailor the program specifically to you and understand the various reflexes and reactions. Seems like you've got a wonderful team taking care of you. Thanks as always for sharing.


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