One of the most difficult times of year for Lipreading Mom is when the weather turns from cold to warm and vice versa. Not just because it can be humid and windy where I live, but because I am more susceptible to getting head colds, allergy congestion, and sinus infections. While I type, my right ear is filled with fluid and aches.
Anyone with hearing loss knows that a lack of hearing ability due to a
fluid-filled ear is not a pleasant thing. For one, my hearing aid doesn't work
the way it should with my cold-infected ear. With the hearing aid in and
switched "on," the only sound I hear out of it is the rumbling of fluid from
inside that ear.
If I didn't have a house full of children here to keep up with today, I would
spend the day without hearing aids. Scary? Sure, but I would choose a day in which I have limited contact with a lot of people. No meetings to attend to, no serious phone calls to make, no doctor appointments, no kids to lip read.
How does a person with hearing loss survive a cough-infested, ear-fluid-filled season without losing sanity? Here are my tips.
1) Go to bed. That's right. No TV show, Internet chat, or blog is important enough to lose sleep. I am forcing myself to get to bed an hour earlier than normal. My body is screaming for rest, so I'm giving it some.
2) Gulp the water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and use it. Drink water in the morning while you're getting dressed. Keep a full bottle on the nightstand, bathroom vanity, or wherever you will see it first thing. Keep additional water bottles in the car with you, in your purse or briefcase, at your desk. Keep one at your computer so you can gulp some while you read this blog post.
3) Say 'no' to excess. By this I mean excess stress, sugar, and caffeine. All three will keep your body feeling sluggish and unable to fight the head cold. Eat lots of fresh fruits with vitamin C. Drink decaffeinated tea with honey to soothe your throat. Do all of this in a stress-free place.
4) Cough in your elbow. I sound like the mother of a preschooler, which I AM. Instead of coughing into your hand or all over your spouse, cough in a place least likely to spread your germs to others. And that would be your elbow.
5) Keep those hands clean. Keep hand sanitizer in your car, purse, briefcase, near your computer, next to the kitchen sink. (I feel like I am repeating myself here.)
6) Take medicine as indicated by the over-the-counter directions or your doctor. No overdoing Benadryl so you can sleep all week and not face the world. You do have a life, you know.
7) Love on your ears. Gently clean the extra ear wax buildup with a cotton swab. And, if you feel better keeping your hearing aids or cochlear implant off for the day so you can sleep, do it. Just make sure you remember to put them back in so you can hear the person you love say, "Are you feeling better? When are you going to fix me breakfast?"
If you have other suggestions, post them below. Here's to good (cough-cough) health!
Ask Lipreading Mom
Shanna Groves was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss after the birth of her first child. She was 27. Raised in a hearing family, Shanna traces her hearing loss to a genetic loss on the paternal side of her family. She is mom to three young children, a published author, and speaker. Her books are featured at www.ShannaGroves.com. Shanna blogs about being a hard of hearing mom at http://LipreadingMom.com.