Look at the title and you think I jest, a 22 year old who loses their hearing… hahahaha. No, it’s not a joke, it happened.
Thankfully it wasn’t permanent damage and my hearing is practically good as new but here is the story of the time I lost my hearing…
As some of you will know, or may have guessed I’m quite the music fanatic. With eclectic taste, music, no matter what genre can usually pick me up out of a mood and make me smile and relax. It can turn a dull evening into a party and a quite night in, into a serene spa scene.
Country music is a genre that is under-rated and with a passion for cowboy boots and hey y’all’s I went to the Country 2 Country Music festival in the O2 in London. It was my second year and it was a ball! However halfway through Carrie Underwood’s set I felt something in my ear, not a pain as such but something disturbing. I blocked that ear for most of the rest of the show and when we exited the building I realised I couldn’t hear out of my left ear. Being a concert goer I know the risks and decided to wait and see, it should resolve on it’s own and if it didn’t it wasn’t going to get better, I’d end up with a hearing aid *shudder*. Noise damage to hearing is common and is often accompanied with tinitis which I was also experiencing. The second day I went back to the festival armed with ear plugs and enjoyed the muted concert like a pro.
I fully expected my hearing to come back within a week or two and decided if it didn’t I would go to the GP and get checked out. I carried on with my life, work and sleep and enjoyed my colleagues taking the piss out of my deafness. My favourite comment though came from one of my patients, an elderly gentleman who after I asked him three times to repeat himself offered me his hearing aids and said “You need these more than I do”.
Unfortunately my hearing didn’t return and the tinitus remained, so to the GP I went. He looked in my ears and said that he didn’t think my hearing had been damaged by the noise, instead I had a rather nasty ear infection probably secondary to the respiratory tract infection I had suffered with 3 weeks before. So maybe not permanently deaf, wahoo. The course of anti-biotics and steroids finished and my hearing was still impaired. In fact over the course of the week the deafness in my left ear worsened and the hearing in my right ear went as well. My GP had referred me to the Urgent Referal Clinic at the Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital and when I went in for my appointment they told me I still had the infection and filled my ear full of cream…. *ewww* not a pleasant experience, if I wasn’t deaf before I was now.
A week later I returned to the Ear, Nose and Throat and they took out the cream (I’ll spare you the details) and sent me for an audiogram.
Success I WASN’T DEAF! I still felt slightly muted hearing on the left side and they said it should clear up on its own.
Boy was I relieved. Hearing is something we all take for granted every day and I treasure mine now! What they say about not really appreciating stuff till you don’t have it anymore….
Anyways good news, today (2months on) my hearing is back to normal and the tinitus is gone, although I think I’ll always be susceptible to it if exposed to loud noise.
Something else I realised throughout this somewhat harrowing experience, I hate being on the other side of the table, they say ignorance is bliss and with healthcare that’s definitely true, when you understand everything it makes the experience far more traumatic… I will always be an awful patient.