Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Teenager Audio Test, or What's the Buzz?

There's a test that's been circulating on the Internet: Teenager Audio Test. The Oatmeal describes it as a sound that is "generally only heard by people under the age of 25. It has been used as a deterrent device to keep teenagers from loitering in malls and shops, and sounds similar to a buzzing mosquito. The elderly and people with hearing damage often cannot hear the sound."

I can hear it. VERY clearly.

I have very sensitive ears. As Adrian Monk would say, "It is a blessing and a curse."

I found it to be mostly a blessing. I discovered at an early age that I loved music, especially really good music (e.g.,  Bach, Mozart) and I wanted to learn more.

I started playing the flute in 4th grade. I eventually learned not only the flute, but many of its relatives: piccolo, recorder, fife, traverso (a one-keyed, wooden flute) and Native American Flute. I really enjoyed playing up in the stratosphere, like the "trumpeters who'd improvise a full octave higher than the score" (from The Music Man).

When I was working on my Master's Degree in Music, I took a course in Electronic Music. This was in the mid-80's, so we were still working on reel-to-reel audio tape recording. Our compositions consisted of various recorded original music, sounds, and effects, spliced together. Compositions were judged on both artistic and technical merits. When reviewing a classmate's piece, I said the classmate's composition very nice, except for the clicks. (Clicks are heard where the splices are improperly made.) My instructor looked around the room. No one else heard the clicks. Then he had a brainstorm. He played the compostion back at half speed, which makes everything sound down an octave. Suddenly, everyone heard the clicks. It helped that I was the only female in the room (women  tend to hear higher frequencies than men).

Sometimes I suffer for my sensitive hearing. My eye doctor had a "rodent deterrent" in his office. Every year for my annual eye exam, I would ask him to turn if off. He thought I was crazy. "How can you hear that? I'm not even sure it's on." I replied, "I am a professional musician. Yes, it's ON, please turn it OFF." That's one of the reasons I found a new eye doctor.

Sometimes my sensitive hearing is a blessing. I KNOW what my children are doing every minute they are in the house. Or wait, sometimes that is a curse.

I realize that my sensitive ears have been a bit a luck, a bit of genetics, and a bit of lifestyle choices.
So even though I am now twice the age as the target audience, my ears still work, very well. Now please, go turn off that Mosquito!!

Mominator, where have you been?

This has been a tough month at Chez Mominator. As previously noted, we had not an auspicious start to the school year. Since then, Pink Ballerina has been having medical problems. She's been dizzy, all day long, almost every day. She also has been having headaches, and ringing in her ears.

We went to our pediatrician on 10/11. He said everything looked OK, and had the nurse run an EKG. The EKG showed an abnormal rhythm: First Degree AV Block. After our appointment at the pediatrician’s, we spent the rest of the day shuttling between blood tests and x-rays.

We got Pink Ballerina had an appointment with a cardiologist 10/12. After a moment studying the EKG from the pediatrician’s office, the cardiologist told us that the leads on the EKG were reversed. The cardiologist did her own EKG and echo-cardiogram on Pink Ballerina. Both tests showed Ballerina's heart is completely normal. The cardiologist has ruled out any heart issues, and recommends that Pink Ballerina gets more hydration throughout the day, and limit her activities until the dizziness issue has been resolved.

Pink Ballerina continued to be dizzy, all day, every day, and frequent ringing in her ears. 
Pink Ballerina had a follow-up appointment with her pediatrician Tuesday, 10/18. Although we are happy that her first round of tests all came up normal, we still do not know the cause of her dizziness. Her pediatrician and I are trying to keep her in school as much as possible while we will continue investigating. We sent Pink Ballerina back to school feeling dizzy.

Pink Ballerina had an appointment with the ENT on Friday, 10/21. Everything looked normal, although her hearing had declined. She will be giving her hearing aids another trial next week. Pink Ballerina wore hearing aids last fall, and has a miserable experience with them. She said they were very uncomfortable, made some sounds too soft and others too loud, made her ears feel like they were plugged, and also, the receiver part of the hearing aids broke frequently.

Pink Ballerina had an appointment with ophthalmologist on Tuesday, 11/1. Everything looked normal, although she is now more far-sighted than before. Most kids are one to two units far-sighted. She is now 3 1/2 units far-sighted. She has gotten glasses and is now getting used to them. Our Ophthalmologist suggested that her vision decline may explain the some of the dizziness and headaches, but certainly not the ringing in her ears.

Pink Ballerina had the VNG series of specialized testing with the ENT on Thursday, 11/3. These tests are designed to look for causes of dizziness, including tracking how the eyes register motion and how the mind responds. Everything looked normal.

Pink Ballerina had an appointment with the neurologist on Thursday, 11/10. Everything looked normal.

Pink Ballerina spent 11/15-11/17 home in bed with fever and chills.

Pink Ballerina spent three hours at the hospital on 11/17 for the MRI test. She read her Language Arts book while waiting. She tried some math, but found it hard to concentrate while she was dizzy and her ears were ringing. We told her that her teachers don't expect her to be up to date yet when has been so sick.

Pink Ballerina said she did not feeling well on Friday, 11/18. We sent her to school anyway because we feel she needs to catch up on her schoolwork. She is worried about how far behind she is, and she that has not been able to finish all her homework.

Pink Ballerina enjoyed the long Thanksgiving weekend. We spent some time as a family, and there was a lot of resting for her. We have a follow-up with the neurologist next week.