Welcome to the first segment of my new blog series! During the current climate, I think it is so important to be aware of the issues those face around us. So I popped onto my insta and messaged some people to find out about their stories! This collection will be weekly uploaded at 8.30pm every Thursday for as long as I have articles for! If you feel you have a story to tell then please message me on Instagram at Queen.Clo or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org !
What makes you different?
I had spent 20 years of my life pretty ordinary. However, life changed when I went on holiday to Zante last summer. During a paint party in a club, I got shot in the ear with a paintball gun. At the time I was drunk and apart from some slight ringing in my ear after the event, I felt fine. The next morning I woke up with the most severe earache of my life. As I was in a foreign country I couldn’t access a GP as I would’ve in England, so I popped to the pharmacy who gave me some ear drops. I was in severe pain all day and was struggling to hear out of my left ear. The next day the pain had become even worse with fluid dripping out of my ear, resulting in a trip to the doctors on the strip. These doctors sent me straight to hospital where they found I had a severe inner ear infection and upper respiratory infection. They drained my ear with lots of pink and green paint coming out. I was put on a drip of IV antibiotics and sent home later that evening. The doctors were unsure originally about flying home, but a check on the day of my flight showed my ear infection had decreased slightly. I was allowed to fly home under the guidance that it would be a painful flight.
Upon arrival, back in England, I took a trip to my GP who told me to continue to take my antibiotics but that the infection seemed to be improving. A few weeks passed by and I could not shake the non-stop ringing from my ear. Several specialist doctor appointments later and I was diagnosed with Tinnitus and High-frequency hearing loss in my left ear. This means that all day, every day I have ringing in my ears. A few more doctors appointments later (with many months passing by) and I was given hearing aid maskers, which help to reduce the effect ringing has on my ear. At a follow-up appointment, it was found that I had the same issues in my right ear which I may have had all my life but never noticed, so now I have hearing aids in both ears. I tend to forget to wear them some days because they’re still a new thing for me, but I am slowly getting used to them.
What is bad about why you are different?
I think the worst thing is that new people cannot always see that I wear hearing aids, and so do not realise that I cannot understand them. In the current pandemic, face masks make life incredibly hard. A lot of the time I will rely on lip-reading to understand what people are saying to me. The face masks are a barrier for sound too, so people talking comes across as a muffle to me. It’s frustrating to have to keep repeating to people that don’t know me that I am partially deaf and can make me feel quite insecure. I worry that people grow tired of me asking them to repeat things and talking to new people can make feel anxious.
People also tend to forget that I struggle to hear so will try to talk to me when I am not looking at them. If you’re talking to me from different angles then I stand no chance of a) knowing you’re talking to me and b) hearing what you are saying. So I tend to have to constantly remind people I cannot hear them. If you ask family and friends they’ll probably tell you that I talk loudly and have to have the television on loud. Both are annoying to other people, but it is not something I can help.
The Tinnitus makes me quite irritable and has an effect that I will not be able to go into deep periods of sleep. I have a box that produces white noise to lower out the ringing. In times of stress or quiet, the ringing becomes louder and is overbearing. I have to try to make my brain not notice the constant hearing that goes on. The best way to explain this feeling to people is if you have ever been to a concert and experienced ringing afterwards, that is a mild form of tinnitus. I have that but constantly, there’s no chance for a break from it and it can be incredibly suffocating.
What is good about why you are different?
When people are being incredibly annoying or mean I can turn my hearing aids off to ignore them, which is always a pro. If the conversation has grown boring, then there is always an escape route of saying sorry I don’t understand you because I cannot hear.
It has lead me to not take things in life for granted. I have a newfound appreciation for my other sense and it has allowed me to see the positives in situations. For although in Zante I lost my hearing, I still had an incredible time with friends. The support my friends and family have given me over the last 10 months has been incredible. They have had to make changes to help me, in group situations my friends have been making sure I do not get lost and have not grown tired when I have needed them to repeat things. It has taught me that every bad situation always has a positive.
What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article the most?
I am trying my best to adapt to the changes life has thrown at me, so I want people to know they need to be patient of me. That life isn’t easy for everyone and simple tasks can be harder when you cannot hear.
Thanks for reading!!
All the love,