Hearing Impaired

My ear popped.

I was at my in-laws for buka puasa two weeks ago and as I was lying down to give our nephew a kiss, I heard the loudest POP in my right ear. And then, silence.

Actual silence. Then our nephew whimpered a bit and I realised I could hear out of my left ear, but my right – nada. Nothing. NOTHING. I wasn’t freaked out by the ‘not being able to hear’ part, because honestly my ears get blocked quite often (once in Ottawa, my ears were blocked for almost a whole summer, and then they just randomly fixed themselves one morning, weird) – I’d say like twice a year for a few days?

What DID freak me out was the ‘pop’ sound I hear. Imagine a firework going off in your ear, that’s what it sounded like. LOUD.

I told Ashraf about it, and we both thought it was just another ear episode and it would unblock on its own, but after a week I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. I started getting massive headaches that would just linger around my temples and a ringing sound in my ear that just wouldn’t stop.

It’s so annoying not being able to hear. I had to actually turn my left ear towards someone if they were speaking to me from the right. Some friends at work would even come up real close to me, and move their mouths silently as if they were talking, just to annoy me (you know who you are). Being a part of conversations were hard. Answering questions were tough because I wasn’t sure what they were saying!

I worked at the store for a day to help with the Raya crowd. I was helping someone in the changing room and I thought she asked me “Do I look good?” I was about to nod enthusiastically (because she really did!) but something in my gut made me say “sorry, could you repeat that?” – and then I figured that she actually said “Do I look fat?”

Can you imagine if I had actually nodded!? I would’ve been fired. She would’ve yelled at me. It would’ve been bad…

So all that to say, after intense nagging from Mims and Ashraf basically having to drag me to the emergency room, we got a diagnosis. I had an ear infection and a ruptured eardrum.

HOW does someone break an ear drum you may ask? I have no idea.

I don’t listen to excessively loud music with my earphones, no one has hit my ear before, and I haven’t been yelled at recently. The doctor at the emergency room gave me antibiotics and ear-drops that would last me a week and sent us along.

“THIS IS IT,” I thought,”I’ll be able to hear again!”

Big lie – the medicine provided no sense of relief whatsoever and I was still walking around reading lips for another week.

The second day of raya was the worst. I couldn’t help but break down crying in the car on the way to Ashraf’s aunt’s house. My ears were swollen, I couldn’t hear at all and I was just so frustrated.

Ashraf decided to go back to KL immediately; so we drove from Singapore all the way back to the emergency room. (Tip: when your husband is exhausted from driving, find Kevin Hart comedy videos on YouTube and rig it to your car speakers – works like a charm. Ashraf laughed so hard during the last two hours of the journey)

We got the emergency room and saw other people who were also in their baju kurungs and raya clothes. A very nice doctor looked into my ear and said “oh boy, that looks quite bad” – no kidding. The antibiotics obviously didn’t work so she gave us a referral to see an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) Specialist. We saw him the next day and he took a little peek in my ear and said, “girl, you got glue ear.”

I beg your pardon?

He took a fancy looking stick that had a camera attached to the end and manoeuvred it through my ear, and suddenly we were looking at my eardrum on the screen. It was SO cool (other than the ear wax that was chilling there, but you know what I mean).

Doctor Koh explained that I had phlegm behind my eardrum. Usually taking medicine would drain it out, but by this time my ear had been in this condition for two weeks so the only option was from him to drain it out.

Excuse me?

He had to do a ‘minor procedure’ to fix me. He put numbing cream in my ear and let it sit for an hour, and then I was invited on to his chair where he basically made an incision in my eardrum, drained/sucked out the phlegm and then inserted a little tube (or ‘grommet’ as they say in the medical world)in the incision. He left the grommet in my ear and said it’ll drop off within 6 months as the cut closes.

Grommet Insertion

Yes, I’m walking around with a tube in my ear! It’s so tiny, but if you put a flashlight at my ear and peek in, you can see it!

The procedure went fine. But it was a little scary because I could hear everything. EVERYTHING. If I thought the POP was loud, this was worse. 20 minutes of non stop fireworks and drills going off in my head, add that to the feeling of deep digging in my ear (like Q-tipping, but going even farther than you KNOW you should)

Alhamdulillah the procedure went well and even though it didn’t give me ‘instant relief’ like Doctor Koh promised, I still felt 50% better. I even swore to Ashraf that I had super hearing for a while – “did you hear that car go by?” “did someone just cough three rooms down?” “I can hear my heartbeat!” – he was not impressed. Boys.

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About Iman Azman

Hello! I am Iman Azman and I am excited you're browsing my page. I am a twenty-something who loves (almost) everything the world has to offer. From books to bunnies, food to fitness, work to working-out and the tiny pieces in between. I am a proud Carleton University journalism alumnus and spent most of my early adult life growing up in magical Ottawa. I love being back in KL and super pumped about sharing this next phase of Life with you! Okay, you know a bit about me now, friends?
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5 Responses to Hearing Impaired

  1. I am so happy you sought help and are better now!!! Thanks for the update and I very much appreciated the humor throughout this piece! And thanks for driving all that way, Ashraf! Lots of love to you cuties!

  2. Nikki says:

    Aw… You and Charlie had the same surgery! I hope you’re feeling better now 💜

  3. Nadeya says:

    I had ear infection too 3 years back. Got in & out of hospital too many times cause the pain keeps coming back now & then. The doctor told me to always keep my ear dry & strictly no swimming allowed & now after 3 years alhamdullilah he said my ear infection is fully heal now

  4. Alya Aziran says:

    Hey iman!!
    I’m not trying to scare you here, but don’t worry if it happens again. My brother had the same thing going on, tubes and all in his ear- exactly like your problem! The funny thing is it kept happening to him every couple of months for the past 3 years. But Alhamdulillah, it stopped & I don’t think it’s gonna reoccur. But if it does, don’t worry!!

    May Allah grant you the best health, In Shaa Allah.

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