The answering machine indicated the presence of a new voice message. “This is Doctor ‘I will perform surgery’ ENT. It’s time to schedule your ear surgery.” The very sound of the receptionist instantly transported me back to late October 2022.

“You don’t have Ménière’s,” the ENT stated. “Whatever you have, it’s more neurological.” However, he believed otosclerosis (a term derived from ‘oto,’ meaning “of the ear,” and ‘sclerosis’, meaning “abnormal hardening of body tissue”) and that surgery could fix that. “I can perform the surgery in April 2023. First, we’ll perform a CAT scan of the ear to ensure there’s nothing else happening; then, we’ll schedule the surgery.” The scan showed no Ménière’s-like damage, and I canceled the surgery. (I’ll give the ENT doctor an ‘A’ for effort.)

Before June 2022, my audiogram classified my hearing as ‘mild-moderate hearing loss.’ Then COVID visited. After experiencing four Ménière’s-like attacks in thirty days, my hearing dropped to moderate to severe. Fullness or a feeling of pressure or congestion in the left ear preceded the attacks, followed by hours of nausea and dizziness. The resulting damage left me unable to use the Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids. I upped the anty and had my Resound One, and Audicus hearing aids reprogrammed to the new hearing aid audiogram. Unfortunately, neither sounded as good as the Bose, but I could not hear very well with the Bose.

As I rummaged through my stored hearing aid supplies, I spotted the Bose – cleaned and stored as they were left. For the hell of it, I pulled out my Resound One hearing aids, placed fresh batteries in the Bose, and inserted them. “Holy shit,” I mentioned. “I can hear.” I require a ‘tad’ more treble, but I could hear nearly as I did before.

While COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, it can also cause other symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, and loss of taste or smell. In addition, in some cases, COVID-19 is linked to sudden hearing loss. While the exact cause of this hearing loss is not fully understood, hearing loss can be attributed to the inflammation and blood clotting resulting from the virus.

While sudden hearing loss can be a frightening and disorienting experience, the good news is that, in some cases, hearing can improve independently without medical intervention. For example, some people with COVID-19-related hearing loss have reported that their hearing gradually improved over weeks or months. Others have said sudden and dramatic improvements in hearing occurred, sometimes even after being told that their hearing loss was permanent.

To my knowledge, Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” In this analogy, the ‘punch’ looks different for everyone, but things that once seemed forever become undone. Hearing is a lot like that. In my case, hearing that once seemed constant and enduring became temporary or illusive. After experiencing the punch (or loss), I concluded that there were only two choices: I could try to restore my old life at whatever cost at my disposal or accept that my losses fundamentally changed my life and move forward. I chose the later and recognized that all of us are forever evolving.

I can’t act like I’m the same person I used to be because I’ve changed, and I know I’ll keep changing. So forcing myself to believe in the same things I did nine months ago seems futile. Instead, I need to concentrate on the here and now, taking things one day and one moment at a time. Since everything constantly changes, I must be aware of everything happening in my life, whether good, bad, or ugly. I had COVID. I did lose a lot of hearing seven months ago. I do have cancer. I do have Parkinson’s. However, some hearing has returned and brings a little joy.

We all must learn to find comfort in surprising ways, for tomorrow, it can all change again.


P.S.: Yes, I am wearing my Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids, enjoying them while I can.