I can remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up on a Saturday in October eager to go to my favorite yoga class and have a relaxing weekend. Halfway through the yoga class, during a random down-dog pose, I noticed that the hearing in my left ear was gone. Immediately, I thought, “this has to be wax in my ear or just something weird.” Unfortunately, over three months later and more than $5,000 in medical bills, I’m facing the fact that I might be permanently deaf in my left ear.
Check Out: When to Use Your Emergency Fund
You’re Probably Wondering How This Happened
I’ve been diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). What I’ve learned is that even among the most prestigious ear specialists, there is little research for what causes you to suffer sudden hearing loss. Since bone encases your ear, it’s hard to study the inner ear until you pass away.
Most doctors say it could’ve been one of the many viruses that live in our bodies, but they can’t tell me which one and if I still have the virus. In my opinion, the most likely culprit is the flu shot I had a few days prior. I’ve never had one before in my life and never will again.
Most days, I don’t notice it anymore, but there are times when losing your hearing is a pain. I’m a podcaster, so I had to adjust to listening better with just one earbud during interviews. I have to position myself just right in restaurants and noisy environments so I can hear the conversation. I must look three or four times over my left shoulder to make sure I don’t miss a car coming because I can’t hear it. The biggest battle each day is to ignore the chronic tinnitus in my ear that sounds like a mix of high pitched buzzing and television static.
Build a Health Savings Fund
There isn’t a value you can place on having an emergency fund in place. I’ve used my emergency fund repeatedly throughout my life to save the day, but I’ve never needed it more than when I lost my hearing.
Over the last three months, I’ve seen more specialists, doctors, acupuncturists and naturopaths than I ever have in my life. While I have good insurance, many doctors, and certainly most acupuncturists, only take cash payments. That means you need to have cash tucked away to access, otherwise, it would be easy to rack up credit card debt fast.
If you’ve ever been a skeptic of an emergency fund, or not seen a need to save for one, let my story inspire you. You never know when life will throw a curve ball, nor can you rest on the fact that you’ve been healthy for your entire life. Medical issues arise when you least expect them, and they almost always cost more than you plan.
For over a year prior, I had made a goal to save up $5,000 in my Marcus high-yield savings account to fund my health insurance deductible plus any medical bills. I’m so happy I made that decision because I would’ve never imagined that I would wake up one day and become deaf in one ear.
My life looks different now. Whether my hearing miraculously comes back or not, I’m learning how to pay attention to my body better and embrace balance. Your organs are sensitive, and it’s crucial that you take care of your body.
The best piece of advice I can offer is to be an advocate for yourself and search out many different ideas and thoughts when you’re sick or have a health issue. That, and make sure you have some cash tucked away, just in case.
Click through to read why most Americans will be in trouble when an emergency strikes.
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