My First Run – Starting to Feel Normal Again

Six months after experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear I decided I was ready to go for a run. My body had been through a lot during the past few months. The hearing loss had been a shock. I had felt frightened and helpless. My body had felt like a vessel used for experimentation; exploring the effects of different types of drugs on my condition: anti-inflammatories, nasal sprays, intravenous steroids, intravenous anti-viral medication, injections of steroids through my eardrum and different types of vasodilators. My body had felt delicate and vulnerable; I had experienced side effects of weakness, loss of weight, low blood pressure, tiredness and dizziness. But enough was enough; I wanted to start to feel more normal again. I love running. Running always makes me feel happy. It makes me feel strong. It is also a time where I can completely forget about any worries or unwanted thoughts. I wanted to switch off from the recent past.

I had asked my chiropractor, the week before, as to whether he would recommend that I start running again. I remembered that, when I first met him, nearly 4 months ago, he had asked about what kind of exercise I did. Due to the problems I was having with my neck, he had encouraged me to take a rest from running until my neck was feeling better. At this time, I was also dizzy and taking medicine that my body was struggling with, and so didn’t feel strong enough to able to go running anyway. Yet now I wasn’t too dizzy and I wanted to feel stronger. I missed running and thought it might help cheer me up, and help me on my road to recovery. It was also another thing that I would be able to do for the first time with unilateral hearing – another experience to say I have tried, since living with single-sided deafness.

I waited for a few days after visiting my chiropractor, to go for my run. I wanted my first run to be on a sunny day. I wanted my first run to be a good run. I wanted to wake up, see the sunshine, and be spurred on by the beautiful Madrid weather, to go outside and have a go! I did exactly that. I had checked the weather forecast beforehand and it was going to be a nice day. I got out of bed when my boyfriend had left for work, and I rushed to the window. The sun was shining optimistically in the sky, and I decided today was the day.

Putting on my running clothes, I noticed how my body had changed since I had last worn them in the summer before I lost my hearing. My legs were thinner and my bottom was flatter and my stomach looked small and weak.

I walked briskly for 15 minutes to the nearby running track. It is difficult to run on the streets of Madrid as there are always lots of people around, even during the daytime. I didn’t want to feel vulnerable whilst stuck in the traffic of people. I enjoyed the sun and breathed the air; taking strong breaths to fill my lungs. I find that when I go running, I realize what a small part of my lungs I actually use during everyday activity. Shallow breathing is a habit of mine, as I am sure it is for many people. It’s almost like we forget to breathe, and it’s actually quite an effort to fill your lungs with every breath when you’re not used to doing it.

When I got to the track, I was surprised at how many people were there enjoying their morning exercise. I immediately started to run; making sure I was moving slowly and focusing on keeping my shoulders slightly back and good posture. I was listening to a storytelling podcast though my running earphones. I didn’t pay attention to the noise of the tinnitus in my ear that resounds with increased stubbornness when the sounds of the outside world are blocked by earphones. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I could only hear the story in my right ear. I was purely happy. I was running in the sunshine, enjoying listening to stories. I was feeling normal again.

The only time I thought about my hearing loss and the pressure and tinnitus in my ear, was when I actually realized that I hadn’t thought of these problems.  So the only time I thought about these issues was actually thinking about the absence of thinking of them! Exercise is well known to be a distraction from life’s worries. This was my proof. My first time running with unilateral hearing was a success.

I sent my sister a message later that day, telling her about my achievement. She replied and wrote that she was so glad that I had been for a run and that I was ‘getting my Carlyness back’ 🙂


  1. I can sooo relate! I was in yoga teacher training when I started losing my hearing and had it not been for yoga I am not sure I would have restored my balance and energy. It’s amazing what the side effects of deafness can produce. I still do yoga at least 3 times a week to curb the dizziness and nausea and to meditate. Big high five for getting your run in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment 🙂 I can imagine that yoga is very effective in restoring balance. I think i might try and do a few basic poses at home, to see if it helps. Yes, it’s amazing how much we rely on the work our ears do for our balance and spacial awareness. Thanks for the encouragement for the running! Take care and enjoy your last few weeks in York – hoping the sun shines for you a bit before you leave 🙂 Carly

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  2. I had to chuckle at your statement “the only time I thought about these issues was actually thinking about the absence of thinking of them” because I do the same thing. I’m so glad to hear your first “after hearing loss” run was a good one and that you were in a good space. Getting your Carlyness back is a good thing. Well done!👍🏽👌🏽

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    1. Hi Steph. Thanks for the lovely comment 🙂
      I think it is a step in the right direction, if we start realizing that we haven’t thought about our difficulties for a while, even if it is just for a few moments….The next step will be to stop thinking about not thinking, haha! Thanks for the encouragement, and glad to hear you are feeling better 🙂 Carly

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      1. You’re welcome Carly. 😃 I mentioned your post to one of my good friends, Sherri, who also has Usher Syndrome and she was so happy to hear of your successful run.

        Sherri and her twin Susan have lived with blindness and deafness, symptoms of Usher, all of their lives and while Susan is profoundly deaf and had cochlear implant surgery years ago, Sherri will be getting her cochlear implant this morning. She is so excited and I hope she has someone videotaping her when she receives her hearing aid on the 30th. She was telling me the percentage of sound in the affected ear is 14% but with the cochlear it will become around 60%.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello again Steph. Oh what an inspiring story. I really hope Sherri’s implant will be a success for her – I’m sure it will! That sounds amazing, going from 14 % – 60 %! Sending her my best wishes. Carly

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