Monday, July 21, 2014


Do you remember that old skit from Sesame Street with Bert and Ernie, where Ernie’s got a banana in his ear and Bert’s trying to tell him that? Ernie keeps saying “What??” and of course Ernie’s punch line – after Bert gets quite irritated with Ernie – is “I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear!” Har har.

I don’t have a banana in my ear but I am having problems hearing. This has been going on for nearly three months now, but I ignored it . . . until the morning when I was very nearly t-boned by an ambulance because I couldn’t tell where the sound was coming from. That shook me up and I realized it was stupid not to get this checked out.

I suspected, and my PCP agrees, that I have wimpy inadequate Eustachian tubes that aren’t letting the fluid drain out from my middle ears. My ears are almost always clogged and it’s as though I’m under water. So I have an appointment with a specialist later this week.

In the meantime I have been consulting Dr. Google who is full of information about ear issues. My favorite is this article on Eustachian tubes and how they work (I found it quite fascinating, to be honest). Other bits of trivia I’ve picked up about this problem:
  • I’m already doing 99% of the recommended interventions 
  • I should have seen my doctor at the three week mark, rather than waiting nearly three months—oops 
  • Once it was clear that popping my ears the way you do when you’re on a plane that’s landing didn't help,I should have stopped doing that (I have now)
  • The jaw injury I sustained in my early 20s when I was an assistant gymnastics coach, the one that caused the TMJ, may also be partly responsible for this problem
  • Tubes may be a valid treatment plan – to which I just have to laugh. It’s such a cliché that ear tubes are for preschoolers and I’m nowhere near that demographic!
On the positive side, my left ear popped by itself this morning on my run. That’s the first time it’s done so in months. I have (muffled, not great) stereo sound now for the first time since May.

Stay tuned for an update once I see the specialist.

1 comment:

Jen Shear said...

It kinda makes me laugh too that you may have to get tubes in your ears. I've only heard of kids having that done, but on the positive side, I think it's a fairly easy procedure :)