America Responds To Rush Limbaugh’s Hearing Loss (Oct 15 2001)
WASHINGTON, DC -- America’s free-thinking deaf and hearing people, along with everyone having a sense of the ironic, could not suppress their snickers and knowing smiles Monday at reports that Republican right-wing radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh had joined the ranks of the hearing impaired.
Limbaugh initially made the announcement himself on his Monday show, stating that he has lost 100 percent of his hearing in one ear and 80 percent in the other. Saying that he wanted his listeners to get the story straight from him rather than from the "liberal media," he explained that the hearing loss began during May and has since steadily worsened.
Such rapid auditory deterioration is relatively rare, according to Dr. Femme Enazzi of Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Enazzi reports that Limbaugh's deafness seems to have stemmed in part from an inner-ear infection and in part from an obstruction.
"We believe Mr. Limbaugh's deafness is, at least in part, a manifestation of a significant inner-ear problem we diagnosed some time ago," Enazzi said, noting that Limbaugh had first presented with the classic inner-ear symptom of losing his balance. "During a series of routine medical examinations, we observed Mr. Limbaugh leaning further and further to the right," she said. "His right-leaning and lack of balance were our first clues that something was amiss.
"Enazzi also noted that "during more than one examination," upon gazing into Limbaugh’s ear canal toward his cerebrum, she observed "several round obstructions resembling gravel," leading her to speculate that Limbaugh’s hearing loss may have also resulted from structural impingements to the auditory nerve from the rocks in his head.
Enazzi noted that, while she was the diagnosing physician, the conservative loudly insisted on being allowed to "hear the truth" from one of Enazzi’s male colleagues.
In making the announcement, Limbaugh, who is heard on nearly 600 stations by 20 million listeners, assured his audience that he would continue to update them on his condition. "I am not altogether sure that my hearing loss is not the result of a covert feminazi plot," he said.
Meanwhile, in a touching expression of solidarity with the man they affectionately call "El Rushbo," listeners to Limbaugh’s Excellence in Broadcasting show could be seen at Limbaugh’s Web site, via the "ditto-cam," learning how to signal their characteristic, "Ditto!" in sign language.
There was also an outpouring of sympathy and support from Limbaugh's conservative friends.
Pal Newt Gingrich shook his head with sadness, saying only, "I told Rush this would happen if he kept baiting angry feminists and letting them box his ears." An anguished but hopeful George Bush Senior said, "Read my lips, as Rush now must... Limbaugh will lip-read and sign his way into the hearts of all Americans."