Readers share their stories on Dr. Frank McGeorge’s report on this debilitating condition.
Bad Axe, Life altering:
I developed sudden hearing last January 2016 just after my 50th birthday in December. I’ve had 100% hearing my entire life with no issues & woke to having only 12% hearing in my right ear. This was very devastating to every aspect of my life including my job as an RN. I suffered anxiety, depression & isolation for 6 months & still deal with issues at times. It was life altering.
I ended up at MI Ear Institute with Dr. Bojrab the day after I was diagnosed in Bad Axe. Dr. Bojrab was wonderful. I had 5 treatments of steroids which where tympanic injections. (Injections through the ear drum into the ear canal). Then I had 13 Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber treatments. There’s much more to this story but I’m trying to keep it short. I was off work over 2 months. My hearing did come back to about 50% of words understood. The hardest part was when a friend looked at me and said “I don’t know why your upset, you can hear out of the other ear” I looked at that as : if someone lost a limb would you tell them to go live a normal life??
I want to start a hearing awareness program but not sure how to go about it. I see so many little kids at concerts etc with no hearing protection etc etc.. although my situation was sudden I see people take hearing for granted. It’s life altering! The love of my life Alan & my daughter Jaclyn were my greatest support along with praying to God all the time & having support of my Church. -Susan Ritter, Bad Axe
Our son, 9, was diagnosed last June with unilateral sensorineural moderate hearing loss, which quickly progressed to bilateral severe hearing loss by October. He now uses hearing aids. After an MRI, CT scan, appointments with neurology, rheumatology and numerous lab tests, we’re still not sure what’s caused this. He has had two ear infections in his life and there isn’t a family history of hearing loss- we’ve been unable to find a cause. We’ve started genetic testing for non-syndromic disorders.
This past year has been incredibly eye opening and life changing. Many people, including educators, don’t realize that there are many factors that uniquely affect children with hearing loss. These include listening and concentrating fatigue, loss of incidental language and social challenges. -Lindsay Donnellon
My daughter, when she was born, she passed her newborn hearing test. At about the age of 4 1/2 it was determined she had bilateral sensoneural hearing loss. After several tests, it was then determined that the cause of her loss is unknown nor will she know how far the loss will progress. It could potentially lead to deafness. Hearing is stable for now but frequent monitoring is required via audiograms. -Local 4 reader
I have Usher Syndrome which causes both vision and hearing loss. I communicate using sign language and written communication. As my vision and hearing decline, I am transitioning to using tactile sign language and Braille. -Karen Bailey, Ann Arbor
One Day, Gun Range:
Lost my hearing on Jan. 23rd after going to a gun range. Had hearing protection on. ENT doctor next day stated it was nerve damage and unfixable. Now wearing hearing aids both ears. -Ed Hirth, Utica
I was born deaf but I received a cochlear implant when I was 2 years old. I can speak very clearly and most of the time people do not realize that I do not have normal hearing. I have always felt like I was between two worlds. I live in a hearing world with people who have normal hearing but I belong to the deaf culture which does not accept me because I have a cochlear implant. I have worked hard all of my life to live a normal life and I do accept I do not hear everything very well. It is not easy but my parents are very supportive and have worked very hard so that my life experiences are the same as a hearing person. I went to public school and I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and I am studying Computer Science. -Kayla William, Southfield
Auto repair shop:
Started to notice hearing loss while working in an automotive repair environment. There are high pitches of sound that I cannot hear like an alarm on a wrist watch, and while in noisy environments like a bar I cannot distinguish one persons voice from the next and cannot hear their words unless I look at their lips (this seems to happen only to me as my friends have said they can hear fine). Not sure if it is truly hearing loss or a combination of exposure to loud environments. -Brad, Dearborn
Spoken and visual language:
My son is 15 years old and has a bilaterally sensorineural hearing loss at the moderate — profound level. He lost his hearing when he was an infant due to complications due to prematurity. Mason was born at 24 weeks and weighed 1 pound 12 ounces. Mason has worn hearing aids since he was 1 year old. Mason is bilingual and uses both spoken and visual language to communicate. Although there have been challenges along the way, we believe Mason is a well adjusted teenager who does well in school and life in general. Hearing loss is a part of his life and ours, but we have never let it limit Mason’s capacity to succeed. -Janel Frost, Troy
I have moderate hearing loss in both ears. It started as a child. I had terrible ear aches. I had tubes put in my ears several times. Then the constant high pitched noise started and I still have tinnitus today. It is very sad there is no way to stop the ringing. My tinnitus is 24/7/365. It’s very loud. Now I’m 60 and still today everyone makes fun of the guy with bad hearing. I can’t get myself to wear hearing aids and I feel like if I did it would only increase the volume of my tinnitus. So life goes on. -Ron Primeau, New Baltimore
I have damaged my hearing due to listening to loud music when i was younger. I would listen to my Walkman super loud and I had subwoofers in my car. I have a perforated ear drum and have issues to this day. I no longer listen to my music as loud but the damage is already done. -Joe DeMatteo, Allen Park
About 10 years ago, after a really bad cold/virus, over the course of 8 hours I gradually lost almost all the hearing in my right ear. Doctors couldn’t explain why, or how to fix it. I also have “age appropriate” hearing loss in the left ear, too. I use hearing aids to compensate. -Jim Dunne, Auburn Hills
For years I pretended I did not having hearing loss. However, after a long amount of time with tinnitus I realized the ringing in my ears was really hearing loss. Tinnitus was nothing new to me, but it really took a considerable amount of social interaction to make it clear. To me, hearing loss really becomes apparent in many social settings where there is a lot of background noise. Tinnitus can make it difficult to understand spoken words when surround with ringing and ambient noise. While most tinnitus sufferers can get by, day-to-day, with hearing loss, I feel that in time there will be medical options that can relieve those who suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss, and can add to a greatly improved quality of life. -Kevin K., Berkley
Started in 20s:
I was told I had hearing loss when I was in my early 20s but did not think much about it. Fast forward 30 years and I now have a 40% hearing loss in both ears due to otosclerosis. I now wear two hearing aids. It is a little worrisome as there is no way to predict how far this disease will progress. -Laura Gizickil, Lake Orion
Had a flu shot in 2011, and two days later, had loud ringing in my left ear. The ringing is called tinnitus and it signals hearing loss. Menieres disease has now set in and I have no hearing in my left ear and suffer from balance issues and vertigo. I now have a cochlear implant as standard hearing aids did not work. -Sue, Macomb
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