Who would have thought that losing your hearing could be so noisy?

There is more to my story, but I am taking a pause to explain a little about dealing with the effects of my sudden hearing loss…

The obvious problem with being deaf in one ear is that I can’t hear. I have read about other people’s stories of sudden hearing loss and it seems that everybody’s experiences are unique. Many people lose their hearing in similar ways such as hearing a pop in their ear or feeling a fullness sensation in their head accompanied with pressure. Yet, the after-effects can differ a lot. For me, it is not the actual deafness that is the main issue I am dealing with, but rather the other ‘hidden extras’ that come with my condition. Of course, I get frustrated by not being able to hear well. How many times can I ask my boyfriend what he has just said to me? How many times can you ask someone to repeat themselves, before they decide that what they were saying ‘doesn’t matter’? But I am facing more challenging issues than just having unilateral hearing.

With only one hearing ear, I have no idea where sound is coming from. I might hear some music or a noise, but I won’t know which way to look to see what has produced the sound. I find it difficult to filter out background noise. When I am in a place with sounds such as traffic, people talking or music, and somebody tries to speak to me, I cannot hear them unless they are standing very close to me on my hearing side. Another issue I am having is that I am sensitive to loud noises, and with loud noises my head fills with pressure. The kitchen is a orchestra of cutting sounds: water running and clinking as it splashes in the metal sink, kitchen pots and pans clanging together, the ping of the microwave and the beeping of the washing machine, and the oven fan that blends the other sounds together; making a mass of pressure in my ears. Another uncomfortable part of my day is when I open the main door to the block of apartments where I live, and am immediately faced with city sounds of traffic and people. Eating crisps, or anything crunchy such as crusty bread, sounds so loud and distorted in my head. This was originally something I found really difficult to cope with, but seems to be getting better with familiarity. One of the most upsetting things is that I have realized that many of the things I love involve noise. I love music and listening to podcasts on my IPod. Now I no longer can enjoy music how I used to. I have programmed my earphones to filter all the sounds from music into mono so that it ensures I don’t lose the sound of the drums or vocals when using only one headphone. However, this obviously means that all the sound goes into my right ear, which is already dealing with enough right now, and soon becomes uncomfortable with the intensity of the noise. I also have times where I feel dizzy. It is not the full-on vertigo that I had when I first experienced my hearing loss, but instead more of a light headed sensation, usually when I stand up from a sitting position, or when I am walking outside and there are lots of people around. I regularly feel exhausted. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s my body trying to adapt and cope with feeling off balance and sensitive to my surroundings. Everyday sounds are tiring. With tiredness comes the difficulty of concentrating on individual sounds, which in turn makes the process of hearing conversation difficult. I also have continuous tinnitus in my deaf ear.  For me, my tinnitus is rarely just one constant sound, but rather a mixture. Some common sounds for me are: the sounds of swimming with my head underwater, bells, ringing and whooshing – like the sound from those corrugated plastic tubes that children swing in circles to make a noise.  During the daytime I am often able to disconnect from my tinnitus, as there are usually other ‘real’ sounds to occupy my hearing. However, when I am lying in bed trying to sleep I hear only my tinnitus. Everyday at this moment, I wish for silence.

There have been difficult times where I have lost confidence or when I’ve experienced moments of sadness and the feeling of loss. There are some days when I feel deeply sad. I sometimes think it would be easier to have been deaf in one ear all my life, than for it just to happen to me. I know how great music can sound in stereo. I know how easy it can be to talk with people and hear their responses. I know how it feels to enjoy the loudness of the cinema or to experience the force of live music at a festival bouncing through your body.  I also know there are people going through much more difficult and scary things. Yet it is only human nature to feel sad. I have felt angry at my body letting me down like this. I’ve lost a part of me that played a big role in enabling me to interact with the world. I need to grieve. I am starting to deal with it. I will keep trying every day, to tackle the new challenges that come with my hearing loss. Eventually I want to be able to embrace my hearing loss, and not let it upset me, rather for me to take control. I believe that it is the things that are different about us that make us unique. I want to enjoy the hearing that I do have and feel grateful for it.

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Author: myhearinglossstory

Hi, My name is Carly. I am 34 years old and I am currently living in Spain. I am originally from a small seaside town in Yorkshire called Bridlington, and have also lived in China and Thailand. I am an Early Years primary school teacher, and have been teaching for nearly 12 years. I love walking in the countryside, getting lost in Madrid, going out for breakfast, taking photos, listening to music, storytelling podcasts, baking, running, drinking wine, and eating spicy food. This year I experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear. I have started this blog as a way to inform my friends and family about my progress, for anyone else who is going through a similar experience as me, or for anybody who is interested in learning about this type of hearing loss, and the way it can affect everyday life.

14 thoughts on “Who would have thought that losing your hearing could be so noisy?”

  1. Oh my! What a curveball. Life brings surprises every day and sometimes they are not always wonderful surprises. I had no idea that loss of hearing could be sudden. It must be challenging relearning to manage your hearing, but you sound on top of things and the most important part is your attitude of positivity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness Carly, what a nightmare. I know you are living in Spain but are you in contact with UK hearing loss organisations who might be able to offer support? I’m particularly thinking of Hearing Link, who have a very well-regarded system of community support voluneeers, who themselves have hearing loss, who can offer support, via e mail in your case. The example of their work on the Hearing Link website at the moment is about someone struggling with sudden deafness, just like you. All very best wishes to you (and your boyfriend). Keep going. Get help. You’ll be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Vera, and thank you so much for the comment. Yes, it is all a bit of a nightmare at the moment. Luckily I have been receiving good treatment here, and things are progressing bit by bit. I have lots more to write 🙂 I will have a look at the website that you suggested. It sounds like a good source of support. I will keep going!
      All the best to you too. Carly

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  3. Oh. My. Word! Your title literally says it all! I have not fully lost my hearing, more of a gradual loss, but the loss has been accompanied by loudening tinnitus. For that reason, I almost always have music on, just to give me something else to listen to so that I don’t get “lost” in the ringing. I still have my hearing in both ears, but yes, I understand almost everything you said. This is a great post.

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  4. I am keeping you in my prayers and staying hopeful that this can be the beginning of something unexpectedly meaningful for you. “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Bernadette 🙂 Thank you for reading, and for the comment.It’s really good to hear that you have found some help in my writing 🙂 I think it can help when you know that other people are dealing with similar problems, and that it’s not just you. Sometimes dealing with hearing loss can be very lonely, and I think it’s good to share experiences to help yourself deal with them, and also to inform others. Take care and hoping things start to get a bit easier for you. Carly

      Liked by 1 person

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