Carly: A Sudden Hearing Loss Story
Carly: A Sudden Hearing Loss Story
What would you do if your ability to hear was changed forever in an instant? This is the unique story of Carly, a 36 year old British woman who experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
We asked Carly to talk briefly on her experiences, her new life, as well as her blog, My Hearing Loss Story.
Originally from the small seaside town of Bridlington in the Nothern England, Carly is a 3636-year-oldrimary school teacher who now resides in Spain. In August 2016, Carly was sitting in a school auditorium, listening to a guest speaker; when out of nowhere came a loud screeching noise in her ear.
She didn’t realize it, but her whole world was about to be turned upside down. Without any warning 0r previous infection, Carly’s hearing would be changed forever.
“I could see she was talking; her mouth was moving and she was looking at me and gesturing. But I couldn’t hear anything she was saying.”
Shortly after the incident, Carly realized that the damage wasn’t only severe, but most likely permanent. It was only later, that she was informed that she had suffered from sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss [SHL] is a type of hearing loss, or deafness, where the root cause lies in the inner ear. SHL is generally permanent and can range from mild, moderate, severe, profound, or total. To learn more about sensorineural hearing loss, read out blog post here.
Carly’s sudden deafness has had a significant impact on her life. As she only has hearing in one ear, she finds it difficult to identify where a sound is coming from. When going to public places, Carly needs to ensure that anyone speaking to her stands very close to her hearing side, this makes it difficult to socialize with friends at a restaurant or bar. Loud noises cause Carly’s head to fill with pressure and often feels dizzy and light-headed.
“After work I would go home and lie down in silence, and watch the room spin around me from the vertigo.”
In the days following, Carly tried to continue as normal. She returned to work as a teacher but struggled to understand anything her students were saying over the background noise of the classroom.
“Losing your hearing so quickly can be a frightening experience, and very difficult to explain to others.”
Four months after the accident, Carly started a blog to help cope with the changes. For Carly, blogging became “a way of documenting my experiences, a tool to help me make sense of my feelings. I have met so many people in the blogging world, all with different stories to tell.”
Since then, Carly’s blog has helped shine a new light on a commonly overlooked condition. She now frequently receives messages from people sharing their stories about hearing loss. “Losing your hearing so quickly can be a frightening experience, and very difficult to explain to others… However, I have found great support though online discussions, websites, and in particular through my blog.”
Sensorineural hearing loss is incurable, although there are simple ways to prevent hearing loss, or reduce the chance in later life:
- Limit exposure and take regular breaks
- Volume limits
- Keep a distance from the speakers
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Regular check-ups
Carly hopes to raise awareness about sudden hearing loss. “If you notice any sudden loss of hearing it is so important to go immediately to see a doctor.”
Carly – Full Q&A
Q: In your own words, tell us about your life before the hearing loss.
A: “My name is Carly. I am 36 years old and I am currently living in Madrid, Spain. I am originally from a small seaside town in the north of England called Bridlington. I am an Early Years primary school teacher, and specialize in teaching 3-7 year old, and have been teaching for more than 12 years.”
Q: What happened, exactly?
A: I experienced sudden hearing loss in my left ear on 29th August 2016. Whilst sitting in a school auditorium, listening to a guest speaker giving a presentation, and out of nowhere came a loud screeching sound that filled my head with pressure. The sound grew quieter into a dull ringing, but the pressure continued, and I began to feel lightheaded and disorientated.
Whilst trying to act normal, I turned to my colleague to the right of me to discuss the question that the presenter had asked us. We talked a little, and then I turned to my friend who was sitting on my left. I could see she was talking; her mouth was moving and she was looking at me and was gesturing. But I couldn’t hear anything she was saying.
Q: What happened in the first days? And the time afterwards?
A: “The days following my sudden hearing loss, I tried to continue as normal. I went to my job as a teacher and struggled through the days. After work I would go home and lie down in silence, and watch the room spin around me from the vertigo.”
Q: What has been the long-term effect on your life?
A: 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… Since I can’t hear well in background noise, this makes socializing in restaurants or bars very difficult and uncomfortable. Due to my sensitivity to noise, I am unable to return to my teaching job now. This means less time spent in the classroom, which is more manageable for me now.
Q: Any advice for those struggle to deal with their condition?
A: Try to connect with other people who have had a similar experience. Losing your hearing so quickly can be a frightening experience, and very difficult to explain to others. Living in Spain has meant that I have been unable to connect with anybody who has experienced sudden hearing loss, in part due to the language barrier. However, I have found great support though online discussions, websites, and in particular through my blog.