It seemed as a wasp in his ear, shockingly he realized it was deafness.
He was happy to get his hearing back… but this time with some more noise!
I am Satyajit and this is my story about sudden hearing loss that eventually led to a weird problem. Sudden deafness is also referred to as sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Understanding the term sensorineural hearing loss shouldn’t be difficult. SNHL is a type of hearing loss or deafness that occurs in the ear due to some auditory nerve damage or deficient cochlear hair cell function caused by nerve trauma, viral infections, noise, tumors, ototoxic drugs.
I am writing this blog to help people understand how fatal your life can turn into if you do not take precautions of your ears.
For me, the year 2016 started with great plans and hopes as I was to get my master’s degree and was looking forward to great opportunities too. I was a super enthusiastic 23 yr old boy with an active social life. My interests included music, movies and fitness on top priority. Living a normal life, I had no idea as what I was about to encounter in a few months!!
Had I known before that anything can happen to anyone at anytime. Had I known before that even deafness can happen to anyone.
The turmoil of my life began from 13th June 2016. I remember it was raining, cold wind had already caught my nerves and we had also been for a late night movie. After which I rode back home in the same shivering cold state with naked ears. The next morning I woke up to a very strange loud noise in my right ear. I noticed my right ear was numb and I couldn’t hear anything clearly. It felt as if half of my room was silent. Frightened, clueless, nervous; I visited the ENT the very same day. After the audiometry test with the audiologist it was confirmed that I had suffered from sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
The helpless feeling of my one ear not responding to any sound was petrifying. While I was completely disturbed with my right ear I was happy that my left ear was perfect and I could hear every single bit of all the sound around me. This was the time I realized that how magical our brain is; if one part of the body stops working the other part automatically takes the charge of performing the functions.
After proper tests and diagnosis It was known that my deafness was caused due to a viral infection and the hearing restoration depends on time and nature. As truly said, “An injured dog bites the most”…I was not satisfied with the diagnosis and hence refused to accept his prescription. Opting for a second opinion was the only feasible option as per the “injured dog”, so I opted for a second opinion with one of the best ENT who followed the same prescription but increased the dosages, steroids and antiviral. I was also told to take an intratympanic steroid injection, which means the injection is injected into the middle ear.
He also started with Carbogen treatment in which 95% oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide is inhaled which improves oxygenation of tissues in the inner ear. The feeling of being deaf remained with me for many days. My doctor said that the chance of getting the hearing back in most of the cases is 75% but I wasn’t sure of my fate.
It was 18th June morning, in the hospital, miraculously my right ear woke up to its senses, I could hear again and I couldn’t believe my ears, literally!! I immediately asked my mother who was standing beside me to call me on my cell from a considerable distance, I was holding the phone on the right ear and with teary eyed I confirmed to her that I could hear everything clearly through the affected ear. My right ear was receptive and I was submissive, on my knees. Thankful to the almighty for being kind and giving me back my normal self. I wanted to hear more of everything and everyone around me.
I was reassuring myself so that not even for a single second the deafness should come back. My sensory organs never felt so alive before. My eyes were watery, my hands were shivering and my right ear was listening! With this overloaded happiness I was back to my normal routine with some medications.
A few weeks after I had recovered from deafness I could feel that I had developed a strange ringing sound in both the ears. Initially it was easy for me to ignore but gradually it became unbearable. Was this because I had lost my hearing and then got it back or something else?? Something in my ears had robbed my inner silence. It was difficult to understand whether the continuous sound was in my ear or head, a noise that doesn’t go away at all. GOOGLE had already told me that this weird sound was called TINNITUS, which is not a disease but a symptom of health trauma that results in continuous ringing, buzzing and sometimes a screaming noise in the ear. Sometimes it is faint and sometimes it screams.
My ears were now more sensitive to loud noise, bursts, amplified music and even people talking loudly. My doctor explained that it’s a difficult medical condition and it cannot be cured, which clearly indicated that I have to live with it. I wasn’t ready to accept this; I badly wanted to get my normal life back. surely time heals everything but tinnitus is an exception. It was driving me crazy, my whole life was getting affected with the ringing. Even conversations with friends was a tedious task for me, my confidence was getting worst.
All my attention was taken away by the ringing sound. With tinnitus came fear, the fear of going deaf again, the fear of not being able to concentrate on anything but the noise. For my family it was just a little chirpy bird in my ear but for me it was a mammoth in my brain. The change was monumental and stubborn. I knew no one around me will be able to relate to my condition and the fear of loneliness was adding to my depression.
The congestion in my brain was drastically increasing, I was a WRECK. Uneasy, worried, nervy and most of the times crying in hope or no hope. I would constantly monitor my ringing by pressing my fingers and see if the sound was still there… and yes it was always there, sometimes more sometimes less. I had stopped my gym, thinking that tinnitus or even deafness happened because of the heavy weight training. My fear gave me nothing but a drastic weight loss. I visited almost thirty doctors in a span of five months hoping that I will get some relief but there was none. Gradually I was getting more concerned about my mental well-being than my ringing. My emotional state was bad. I just wanted to get rid of the noise somehow. Thankfully I didn’t allow my monster mind to take away my life.
It’s been months and I am still dealing with the ringing every second. The difference is that my mind is in my control now and I know I have to train my senses to get used to the sound. Even today I am in secured about my hearing… What if it goes away again?? I do get anxious and depressed sometimes… thinking about the reasons and causes that led to deafness and then tinnitus. But maybe this is what life is about, sometimes noisy, sometimes calm and sometimes turbulent. But I am hopeful that someday again miraculously the ringing will stop. Until then I have to learn to live with it.
From a careless guy I have changed to a more cautious and responsible one. I try to keep my stress level manageable by going to the gym regularly so that the anxiety level doesn’t increase. It is necessary for everyone to strictly avoid alcohol as it is highly ototoxic. I also avoid junk food and majorly the food that contains high MSG in it. MSG is monosodium glutamine, a flavor enhancer present in most of the junk, processed and prepackaged food. They excite brain neurons resulting in increased electrical activity in the brains and hence in increased tinnitus. For me it is best to keep away from noisy places and amplified music. I always make sure I protect my ears with cotton or ear plugs to avoid further hazards to my hearing.
One of the very similar term to Sensorineural hearing loss is Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), it occurs due to loud noise. Concerts, gunfire”, firecrackers, loud headphones are the common causes of NIHL. When the ear is exposed to loud noise; the shrill starts killing your inner cells. As the exposure time to loud noise increases, more and more hair cells are destroyed. As the number of hair cell decreases, your hearing also decreases! Experts believe that the risk of damaging your ear depends on two factors; the loudness and the duration of the loud noise. A continuous exposure to noise at or above 80-85 decibels can cause hearing loss.
Read About Noise – Hazards
As popularly said, ”Learn from others mistakes”… I want my readers to know how important it is to appreciate your senses, and take care of your body. I strongly recommend everyone to use earplugs whenever you visit concerts, theaters or pubs. Even if you have a noisy occupation earplugs are a must. It is best to keep away from loud music; be it clubs, ipods, players, amplifiers, firecrackers or even gunshots.
Over these months I researched a lot about the reasons for hearing loss and tinnitus. Today, I want to make sure that through this blog I help and support people who are going through the same state. I might not be able to cure your hearing problems but will definitely try to help you tackle that storm in your mind.
…And about my ringing sound, now I feel like I have new pet bug beside me all the time… asking me to just take care!
So this is Satyajit, the guy who lost his hearing… and got it back!
Learn More About Noise hazards
-Written by Satyajeet Godbole