One day in April 2011, I lost all the hearing in my left ear between the time I woke up and lunchtime.
I was already severely deaf in my right ear and I had mild hearing loss in my left ear as a result of a hereditary condition called otosclerosis. I used a hearing aid in my left ear every day, but rarely used the hearing aid in my right ear, because I felt the volume level necessary to make it of use to me caused me to have horrendous tinnitus.
On this particular day, I woke up feeling a little woozy, and when I spoke, my voice sounded louder on my right side (my deafer side) than usual. For a few moments I thought a miracle was happening and that I was getting the hearing back in my right ear. (I once heard about a man whose hearing had been miraculously restored after travelling on a ski lift and I still hoped for a similar miraculous recovery.)
I could feel something at the base of my skull, which felt like icy cold water trickling down my neck. It then felt as though something was shifting at the base of my skull – a movement of some kind like when you see those worms that have embedded into someone’s skin – but this wasn’t a wriggling movement, more of a shift of a mass. It was undeniably scary, but I still went to work.
I started to get a really painful headache and I took some painkillers. I answered the phone to take a call from a colleague. I had an amplified phone with a volume control and I kept turning it up but to no avail: the caller’s voice simply faded away. To this day, I can’t remember who was on the phone or exactly what I said but I think I just kept saying that I couldn’t hear them.
I sent a text message to my husband and said I felt worse and that I thought something serious was happening and asked if he would take me to the emergency room. He came straight away and we dashed to the hospital. In the waiting room, my hearing further disappeared. I changed the batteries on my hearing aid twice before accepting that the last of my hearing had disappeared while I was waiting to see the doctor. I felt like I was underwater or in a bubble, cut off from the outside world around me: it was like watching TV with the volume muted. Continue reading “Their voice just faded away: My experience with sudden deafness”