What I Hear

Life with hearing loss

About "What I Hear"

This blog will be about daily life with hearing loss, but to learn more about causes, prevention, and the psychological effects of hearing loss, as well as research that may someday lead to a cure for hearing loss, read my book, "Shouting Won't Help: Why I -- and 50 Million Other Americans -- Can't Hear You." Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Read More

Hearing loss due to auditory nerve impairment

I had no problem hearing & perfect speech until I had my first child. It became apparant to me over the next few years. Retrospectively, I believe it started as a result of immediate post partum hemorrhage, just as ischemic optic neuropathy causes vision loss after decreased blood & oxygen supply to the optic nerve. I don't know if ischemic auditory neuropathy in adults post hemorrhage or hypotensive events is a known phenomenum, but the temporal relationship of my hearing loss, which has been stable significant high frequency hearing loss for 20+ years, makes me think it exists. Please let me know if you have ever heard of this, if there are any related articles or studies. Also, is this a different hearing loss from the loss that improves with cochlear implants, etc. Top quality hearing aides from the audiology office do not improve my hearing to any appreciable degree & I don't think implants help hearing loss due to nerve damage. Any information you can provide will be appreciated. Thank you, MK

auditory nerve impairment

I don' really know enough about auditory nerve impairment to feel comfortable answering your question. It is my understanding, though, that the cochlear implant stimulates the auditory nerve, and if this is the case a c.i. would not help you. But please don't take my word for it. Go to a good ENT, preferably one at a teaching hospital who will have the latest information.
I have talked to a number of women who lost their hearing during pregnancy, though never with the particular complications you describe. I have not come upon any studies on this phenomenon, so my information is anecdotal.
it's definitely an area that needs closer investigation.
You didn't say whether your loss was in one ear or both. If it's one ear only, there are hearing aids that can transfer the sound from the good ear to the poor one.
I hope that you can find a solution. Do you live near a major medical center? I'd start there.
If you find out more about this, I'd be interested to hear it.
Thanks so much for writing, and good luck to you.

Hearing loss due to auditory nerve impairment

I had no problem hearing & perfect speech until I had my first child. It became apparant to me over the next few years. Retrospectively, I believe it started as a result of immediate post partum hemorrhage, just as ischemic optic neuropathy causes vision loss after decreased blood & oxygen supply to the optic nerve. I don't know if ischemic auditory neuropathy in adults post hemorrhage or hypotensive events is a known phenomenum, but the temporal relationship of my hearing loss, which has been stable significant high frequency hearing loss for 20+ years, makes me think it exists. Please let me know if you have ever heard of this, if there are any related articles or studies. Also, is this a different hearing loss from the loss that improves with cochlear implants, etc. Top quality hearing aides from the audiology office do not improve my hearing to any appreciable degree & I don't think implants help hearing loss due to nerve damage. Any information you can provide will be appreciated. Thank you, MK

Thank you for your response

Thank you for your response and information, Katherine. I am very interested in receiving more information about women who have lost their hearing during pregnancy, the possible causes,treatment, prognosis, etc. My hearing loss is in both ears & fairly equal. When, over time, it became apparant to others that I couldn't hear, I finally I saw an ENT in my home town in Tallahassee, FL & have followed up with audiologists at his office periodically since then. I was told that hearing aides are the only option for neural hearing loss, and the $7,000 Oticon & Widex aides are grossly inadequate. I have not seen an ENT at a teaching/research hospital. Hearing impairment has had an overwhelming impact on my life, career, confidence, etc. My family & friends & coworkers are very tolerant, but the energy put into trying to hear is exhausting. Any information you could provide or direct me to re: hearing loss during pregnancy or recommendations for reading or further evaluation & treatment options for neural hearing loss would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, MK

Suggested change in Katherine Bouton's book

The comment in the Notes p. 256 of Katherine Bouton's book about hearing loops is written from a negative perspective although hearing loops (aka room loops, induction loops, audio loops) provide amazing technology to many people with hearing loss. Hearing loops in public and private places allow those with t-coils in their hearing aids and cochlear implants to hear clear crisp sound without background noise. Those without t-coils can access the signal via headphones. Unfortunately, the profoundly deaf who are not candidates for cochlear implants cannot utilize this technology.

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Katherine Bouton, a former editor at The New York Times, is the author of Shouting Won't Help: Why I—and 50 Million Other Americans—Can't Hear You.

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