It happened 108 days ago. Whilst sitting in a school auditorium, listening to a guest speaker giving a presentation, I put my head up from writing some notes, and out of nowhere came a loud screeching sound that filled my head with pressure. I was surrounded by colleagues and sitting in the middle of a row of people, so was unable to leave the room. The sound grew quieter into a dull ringing, but the pressure continued, and I was soon feeling lightheaded and disorientated. Whilst trying to act normal, I turned to my colleague to the right of me to discuss the question that the presenter had given us. We talked a little, and then I turned to my friend on my left. I could see she was talking. Her mouth was moving and she was looking at me and was gesturing. But I couldn’t hear anything she was saying. I was supposed to be writing down our answers, so I asked her to write hers on the list I was making.
In the break, I made my way to the toilet with a small group of friends. I was dizzy and things were spinning like when you’ve had too much to drink and can’t focus on a particular thing. In the toilet I desperately tried to pop my ears, closing my mouth, holding my nose and trying to exhale through my nose. This momentarily seemed to ease some of the pressure, but my head was still spinning and I was aware that I couldn’t hear well out of my left ear. I told a few people that my ear had popped – like when you go through a tunnel on the train, or when your ears block from the pressure of going up in an aeroplane. This is what it felt like, and though I was extremely uncomfortable, I wasn’t too worried. I was tired that day, and thought that maybe after a sleep, I would feel normal again.