I’d like to share my story about my sudden hearing loss due to one accidental extreme acute noise trauma. It happened about a year and a half ago. I have a small farm and a Ford diesel farm tractor. I was going to use the tractor to mow some pasture grass and the battery was weak and the engine would not start. I didn’t use the tractor that much, maybe once a month or so and the battery would get weak when not used/charged often.
Anyway, I tried to jump the battery off with my truck and jumper cables, and it (the tractor) did not want to crank. So, I had an older battery charger that I connected to the battery to let it charge for a few hours. After about 2 hours I disconnected the charger and when I turned the ignition switch the battery exploded. The top blew off the battery and I found it about 50 feet away. I felt the percussion of the explosion and wondered if I was actually injured. Fortunately, I was not injured with flying debris when the top of the battery blew off, or spattered with battery acid, but the noise from the explosion was excruciating. I have shot firearms and been around some loud noises/explosions, but nothing so loud and so close to my head (about 3 feet away). The noise was deafening.
Immediately, I had lots of ringing in my ears, and my right ear, facing the battery, sounded distorted, like a blown speaker. This happened on a Saturday, and I made an appointment to see my Dr. that Monday morning. I was unable to see the Dr. but saw a nurse practitioner. I told her what happened, and she looked in my ears and said my ear drums looked normal, other than some scaring on my right eardrum from a previous infection. Next, she recommended that I see an ENT Dr.
I was able to see the ENT Dr. that afternoon and he said basically the same thing… that everything looked normal. The ENT gave me a prescription of steroids for 30 days and they did a hearing test. The lady who did the hearing test said I had some significant high frequency hearing loss in both ears and recommended hearing aids (only 3 days after the accident).
I told them I wanted to wait and see if there was any improvement with the steroid treatment and time before I decided to get hearing aids. I saw the ENT and had another hearing test 30 days later, and the results were about the same.
Well, without writing a book and reliving the accident over and over again, thinking about what I could have done differently to prevent the accident, the damage was done. At age 58, I probably had some hearing loss anyway due to my working career working in industry, etc.. But I suddenly found myself with a fairly severe and sudden hearing loss due to a one-time loud noise auditory trauma.
I had hoped my hearing would get better in time and did lots of research on the internet about hearing loss due to extreme noise trauma. But my worst fears seem to become reality as time went on. I became so depressed after about 6 months with little improvement in my hearing, I honestly thought about putting a gun to my head and pulling the trigger. That is how depressed and devastated I was about my hearing loss.
And, what made matters worse was the fact that I was an amateur musician and played several musical instruments. Music was a big part of my life. And, suddenly, my hearing was muted and distorted. A lot of the volume was still there, but the clarity was diminished a great deal.
My depression grew worse and I lost over 50 pounds and could not sleep at night. The sleep depravity due to extreme tinnitus and depression seemed to get worse. I finally came to the point where I realized that my state of mind was indeed troubled and I needed help in more ways than one.
I could go on and on about how this accident changed my life and the misery that has followed, but I’ll keep the remainder of my story short. I did finally get hearing aids and they have helped a lot, but even with the aids, the quality of my hearing, especially listening to my music, is diminished. I feel the quality of my life has diminished as well. I no longer have thoughts of suicide, but the depression comes and goes, even with medication.
I know sudden hearing loss can affect different people in different ways, but it has had a profoundly negative effect on my life. I know I should be thankful that the accident was not worse than it was, and I am, but dealing with my hearing injury has been very difficult. However, I do realize now that it is not the end of the world, and I’m glad I didn’t take my own life when I was at my lowest state of mind and my deepest state of depression. I realized, with the help of my family, that there is life after sudden hearing loss.
Anyway, thanks for listening!