About Me and My Blog

Me Madrid 2

Hi, My name is Carly. I am 38 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 more than12 years. I love: spending time with my sister and her boyfriend, walking in the countryside, getting lost in Madrid, my boyfriend, travelling, going out for breakfast, my family and friends, taking photos, listening to music, storytelling podcasts, baking, running, drinking wine, and eating spicy food.

In August 2016 I experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear. I 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.

 

 

60 comments

  1. Hi Carly,

    It’s been 3 and a half years since I lost the hearing in my left ear. While shortly after that, I had done a lot of reading about the condition, I had never done a google search with the terms “single-sided hearing loss.” For some reason, I had the urge to do that today and discovered your blog. I’ve read your initial posts and felt great sympathy for what you endured in those early days.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts and to hearing the upcoming radio documentary on the BBC site.

    Here’s my story. I am retired, now 63. I had started to learn to play the clarinet and had been taking lessons. One Friday evening, as I finished up my practice session, I went upstairs as my wife had recently returned home. Something was suddenly strange. I had a very loud ringing in my ear and it seemed that I could not hear her very well. We soon discovered that I had no more hearing in my ear.

    I went to bed that night thinking that it might clear up on its own. Unlike you, I did not experience any pressure in my head. However, I awoke in the middle of the night with a severe bout of vertigo. I became nauseated and was unable to balance after trying to stand up.

    The next morning, I googled the term “sudden hearing loss.” One of the first things I read said that this should be considered an “emergency situation.” So we drove to the emergency room. The ER doctors didn’t know much about it, so they called a specialist who suggested that I see a specialist on Monday, it being Saturday. They did prescribe an anti-viral medication on the basis that a virus is sometimes the cause of the loss.

    On Monday, I saw a specialist and they started with a sequence of steroid pills. After a couple of weeks and another hearing test, they moved on to injecting steroids directly through the ear drum. If I recall correctly, they did this 3 times over a period of 10 days or so. After returning to the specialist to follow-up after the last injection and having another hearing test, the doctor basically shrugged and said that it’s not likely that my hearing would return.

    When I asked about the clarinet playing and if the pressure of blowing into it might be some cause for the loss, he said that it was not.

    I went to see another specialist at a university hospital, had another hearing test, and got the same…we don’t know what causes it and it’s not likely to return.

    Fortunately for me, I am retired and don’t have to be subjected to a noisy office or other environment. I also have significant tinnitus. Again, fortunately, unless I think about it or give it any attention, I forget about it…unless of course I’m in a loud environment and it competes for attention with people talking to me.

    My wife and son are used to it now and walk on my right side without having to remind them. And like another one of your posters, I love that I can put my good ear to the pillow and not hear a thing if it’s noisy at night.

    My only worry is that I fear I may be disengaging from community connection more than I realize. I’m doing my best to combat that, but it seems to be one of the side effects of this loss, especially since no one can tell that I have the problem.

    Thanks for listening and I look forward to reading all of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bob, it’s funny how I feel when I hear your story. That’s almost exactly what happened to me. 60 years old working in the yard and felt like I had water in my ear, took a shower, thought it would get better. Sydden vertigo and nausea. I did the oral steroids I did the steroid injections and absolutely nothing helped. I have the tinnitus in my left ear and like you when I’m in loud places I feel like I’m totally out of it because I can’t hear anything with all of the competition of the different noises. I also find it very difficult to figure out where noise is coming from. I guess it’s because everything is going into the right idea. Being outside seems to be the best because there’s no reverb off of the ceilings. I recently have tried the CROS system. But I am sending it back because I don’t feel like it helps me in any way. Plus wearing devices in two ears is very annoying. My family is getting used to the same thing…walking on my right side etc. I do not envy the younger people who suffer with this. I would hate to have to live with this in a work environment for a lot of years it would be very stressful. Retirement in 2 years it’s something I look forward to especially because of this . Good luck in your journey. Cathy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Cathy! What is interesting is that in many of the stories I’ve read about losing hearing in one ear, most seem to lose it in their left ear. This is not a scientific observation, but just what I seem to come across. I wonder if there’s anything to that.

        I completely sympathize with your experience with tinnitus in loud places. It can be quite frustrating, especially if you are part of a group of people and are trying to speak to them across the full 180 degrees of visibility.

        Thanks again for your thoughts.

        Regards,
        -Bob

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi there Bob,
          Yes, I’ve noticed this too about the majority of people losing their hearing to sudden hearing loss are affected in their left ear. How curious!…This must be worth looking into…Best wishes, Carly

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello Bob, and welcome to my blog 🙂
      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story.

      As with many people’s stories of sudden hearing loss, I see similarities in our experiences. I had a screeching sound in my head when I lost the hearing in my left ear. I also had severe vertigo when it first happened. I had the steroids and the injections, and then was told that there wasn’t anything else they could do to try and help me recover any hearing. It’s so difficult to accept, especially when it first happens, isn’t it? The specialists only have a limited amount of research to work with regarding sudden hearing loss, and the main treatment is the steroids. When/if these don’t help, then it’s difficult to find anyone with any other suggestions. I remember thinking that if the specialists didn’t know what caused this, then how do they know it will be permanent?

      People who are close to me know to walk on my right side so that I can hear them, and with people who don’t know me that well, I circle around them making sure I keep them on my ‘good’ side!

      I’m curious as to whether you also have a sensitivity to sound? Do you wear a hearing aid/CROS aid?

      I really identify with you when you say you may be disengaging from the community connection. I think this is quite normal after a hearing loss, and it is good that you have identified this. I am still trying to work out ways to be more social. It’s not easy, and listening to anyone, especially amongst background noise, is always an effort. Now I avoid large groups of people, and this means missing things like birthday party lunches. I find the noise overwhelming, and can only ever have a conversation with the person sitting next to my good ear. I don’t feel like I can be part of the general chat at the table.

      I have however, started to make more of an effort to meet friends in one-to-one situations – in a quiet café or in my/their home. I find that since I have to concentrate so hard to listen to them, that I am actually paying more attention than perhaps I would have done before my hearing loss. Also, because it is just me and them, we really have a chance to properly talk to each other. I even feel that some of my friendships have strengthened since my hearing loss, because of this extra effort I am making – though, this isn’t true for all my friendships.

      Like you said, nobody can see our hearing loss, and I find that even if people know about it, they will often forget. There are a few people who really try to understand and try to communicate in the best way possible. I have started to tell new people, often as soon as I meet them, that I can’t hear in my left ear. Sometimes it makes things a little easier.
      I hope you have supportive friends and family.

      Thank you again Bob, for commenting, and I wish you a lovely day 🙂

      Like

      1. Hi Carly,

        Thanks for your very thoughtful reply to my story.

        It was definitely hard to accept that this condition would be permanent, especially after hearing it from the 2nd doctor. At this point, I’m largely over the disappointment.

        As to sensitivity to sound, I think that my hearing was very good before the loss. I remember as a child being very sensitive to loud noises. One example that I can recall is that whenever I was at a concert and was close to the speakers or the band itself, I would find loud snare drums to be overwhelming.

        I have not tried any of the CROS devices. Since I’m not in an office or crowded environment much of the time, I figured that I’d prefer to find other coping strategies.

        As unfortunate as the hearing loss has been, I have found a few bright spots, one of which I mentioned in my story.
        – I can eliminate All sound at night if I put my good ear to the pillow
        – I use Apple Airpods and I only need one of them; and if the “right” one runs low on battery, I can fit the “left” in my right ear and it works pretty well
        – While loud places are not great, if I’m properly positioned, all the noise coming from my left gets tuned out automatically

        The downsides include all the usual:
        – I feel less safe in parking lots and have to be extra careful of cars approaching from my left; early on, I was nearly hit by a car (twice)
        – I used to sing in a church choir and enjoyed it (was not very good), but with the loss, I hear a lot more vibration in my head when I try to sing; this makes it harder for me to hear myself to gage whether or not I’m in tune
        – Tinnitus really stinks, though I feel fortunate that I have largely ignored it; that said, I really wish it would go away

        Early on when discussing the issue of people not knowing of my issue with my wife, I made a silly suggestion that they should make an “ear patch” to wear over the non-functioning ear…sort of like people who wear eye patches over a non-functioning eye. You could even make them somewhat stylish.

        Friends and family are very supportive. For friends that I don’t see very often, I usually have to remind them, but that’s not a big deal.

        Thank for your blog. It’s very nice to have an extended supportive community to engage with.

        Warm regards,
        -Bob

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Bob,
          You have made me smile with the idea for an ear patch! I’d definitely wear one, and would want something written on there, such as – ‘this ear doesn’t work’! It would actually be really good to have some visible sign to give people, to let them know I have a hearing loss, instead of having to always explain to them.
          Best wishes
          Carly

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hi Bob,
          I always tell people that “my right ear is the right ear” meaning that’s the correct ear to talk in to. So my friends at work are finally starting to get it and remember that. Also I wanted to say I turned my CROS system back in today. I had it for 45 days and now that I’ve turned it in at least I get most of my money back. The reason I did not like it is that I didn’t feel like it made that much difference. The sounds on the left we’re still dull and muffled even though I was hearing them in my right ear it’s hard to describe. Also the thought of having two things in my ears for the rest of my life every day along with the cost and upkeep of them was not really appealing to me. Maybe because I’m just getting used to it. Good luck with your adventure,,, Cathy

          Like

  2. Hi Carly, I have been suffering from single sided hearing loss since Dec 2016. It’s been really tough and one of the worst part here is that it’s almost impossible to explain to others as to what one is going through. So yes, when I read your blog can totally connect and understand. For me too, over time, more than the hearing loss it is the sound sensitivity & tinnitus which is having a big impact on my day to day life. Don’t feel like stepping out of the house. I can definitely see that my ability to multitask has reduced. Only positive outcome here has been that I have picked up a camera and started photography. Of course am shooting mostly landscapes where there is no noise! You can see some of my snaps here – https://raviabburi.com/
    Cheers and good luck ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ravindra,
      Thank you for your comment.
      You had your hearing loss not long after I had mine.
      You are right, it is very difficult to explain what sudden hearing loss and it’s after effects feel like. Sound sensitivity and tinnitus are also things I find difficult and very tiring.
      I have looked at your photos and there are some beautiful images. You capture so much calmness and tranquility.
      It’s funny, I started writing because of my hearing loss. Let’s take comfort in the new things we love as a result of our losses 🙂
      Best of wishes
      Carly

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello,

    Just saw your blog on twitter.

    I too have an issue in my ear, this one being my right ear.

    I noticed one day that if I lay on one side everything I could hear was wrong, firstly quite quiet but mostly everything sounds high pitch – like smurfs or something.

    After a while I noticed that I had quite sting tinnitus and as I’ve read here, I suffered from very bad spells of vertigo.

    I went to see one doctor that told me I had an infection. I had antibiotics but nothing changed. I did have medication for the vertigo but that made it worse.
    The vertigo has gone, but the tinnitus is still raging.

    I now have a hearing aid in my right ear, which does help with tinnitus.

    It’s hard work though – crowded loud areas are a nightmare and I really struggle with directions of sound!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Steven,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Do you think your symptoms started when you lost your hearing, or did you have tinnitus and vertigo before?

      I am glad you have successfully been fitted with a hearing aid, which is providing help with your tinnitus.

      I agree, crowded areas can be very tiring! Try to rest when you feel tired, and take short breaks when you feel the volume levels or concentration needed to focus on conversation gets too much. Sometimes short breaks can really help with managing hearing fatigue.

      Best wishes,
      Carly

      Like

      1. Thanks. I think the vertigo started the same time as the hearing loss.

        It was terrible at one point, but it’s a lot better now. I still get it a bit with hear movement and things like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Carly. Just read some of your blog, along with comments from Bob. Really weird you two mentioned single sided hearing loss more prevalent on the left side. I’m 63 and lost hearing in my left ear at about age 30, so I’ve been dealing with the symptoms you describe for over 30 years. Actually, i lost 85% of the hearing, but mostly what I do hear from the left ear is a thousand crickets screaming out in agony. You know what I mean. I’ve often thought if I got rid of the tinnitus (just surgically cut hearing from that ear including the tinnitus) I’d be better off, but not sure. I too have major trouble in a crowd or background noise. It’s absolutely impossible to distinguish what someone is saying to me from the chatter everywhere else. Also, the loss of triangulation or sensing where a sound is coming from is annoying and completely perplexing to anyone around me. They think I’m bonkers if there’s a noise and I don’t automatically look in that direction. Or if someone calls me from another room and I have to ask which room they’re in. I’ve lived with it so long I’m resolved to not wear hearing aids. I’ve tried a few cheaper styles (I’m poor and have little money, also very frugal–actually true) but don’t wear them long enough to get past the learning stage and getting them into my life. Something like exercising. I vow I’ll try one, use it for a day or week, then say to hell with it, or just leave it on my nightstand. Similar to the treadmill we’ve got in the spare bedroom. But the real reason I’m posting (otherwise I’d just read your post, nod to myself a lot and go about my day) is my wife (who I’ve been married to for almost 40 years) has never gotten used to my hearing loss. As you pointed out, if you have a visible sign that you have hearing loss such as a hearing aid in one ear, seems like people around you treat you differently. it’s like if I were to cut off my left ear, people would get the picture. I find it absolutely annoying that after 30 years she doesn’t ‘get’ that I have about 50% normal hearing. She still tries to have conversations with me from another room. I’d love to have nickel for every time (ok, that’s telling my age with that saying isn’t it), for every conversation she has had completely by herself and thought I was part of it. And if I say anything like ‘can’t hear you’, she thinks I’m being rude or insensitive. Just thought I’d throw that out there and see if anyone has similar life frustrations. Keep posting, as this is very interesting.

    Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Phil,

      I “hear” ya! I’m 65 and only lost my left ear hearing several years ago (it might be as many as 5, but I’m not even remembering it anymore). The lack of ability to triangulate sound borders on dangerous. After I first lost my hearing, I was nearly hit by a car twice. I’ve become a lot more careful crossing the streets and walking through parking lots.

      I have the same issue with my wife. I think it might be the worst when she’s driving and I’m sitting in the passenger seat. I have typically been the one driving, but I had knee replacement surgery in November and am just now starting to drive again.

      I think I’m among those lucky enough to ignore the tinnitus, unless I’m describing it to someone or right now as I write this. Any thought of it makes it very apparent to me. If I was unable to ignore it most of the time, I think I’d go mad.

      Stay well.
      -Bob

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Bob,

        I also find crossing the road much more of a challenge now. I heavily rely on my vision to help me now as I can’t trust my ears to know if a car is approaching and from what direction.

        I don’t drive, but when in the car with my partner I find it really difficult to hear him. Also, I don’t enjoy music as much in the car as I used to. It takes me a long time to identify what song is playing and I don’t hear any depth to the music – it just sounds tinny.
        Best of wishes,
        Carly

        Like

    2. Hi Phil,

      Thank you for reading and for your comment.

      Ah, I completely understand what you mean about the crickets. Some days my tinnitus can be really intrusive! Luckily, I generally don’t notice my tinnitus, but there are some things that make it worse such as stress, salt and alcohol. I know that a glass of wine will lead me to have screaming in my ear.

      Like you, I can’t identify where a sound is coming from which often leaves me scanning my surroundings looking for a possible source.

      I think it can be really difficult for others to understand the practical and emotional aspects of hearing loss, even those closest to us. My partner told me that he often forgets I have hearing loss, which I now take as a compliment as I must be managing it quite well. Yes, it would definitely be easier for others to remember if there was a visible sign – I feel that if my ear was hanging off and bleeding, people would definitely be more compassionate!

      I am lucky that my partner is very understanding. I think that because he was part of my life when I had the sudden hearing loss and when I was learning to live with a reduced sense of hearing, he was also adapting during this time. But, he still needs reminding! Perhaps our loved ones don’t always remember our hearing loss because it’s not important to them, in that our hearing loss doesn’t define who we are in their eyes – just a hopeful thought 😉

      Take care and thanks again for your comment!
      Best wishes,
      Carly

      Like

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