How I lost my hearing
Wanda Knight says 'I had meningitis so I lost my hearing all at once. I wasn’t feeling well. I went to the hospital and they said that I had a virus. I came home. An hour later I was very bad; terrible headaches, violently sick, rang the hospital again and they said ‘painkillers, take painkillers’.
I went to sleep after taking these painkillers I thought but it wasn’t a sleep. I was in a coma and I’d got meningitis. When they managed to revive me, I was eaf in both ears. I’ve got absolutely nothing at all — no hearing at all.'
John Hirst says 'I joined the First Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Regiment which was the fourth regiment in the army to have been established. I was being prepared for leading a small body of men under the conditions of warfare, because we might easily have gone to war with somebody, rather like people now being sent out to Iraq.
And it meant taking part in mock schemes and mock battles. That is unfortunately what most started off my deafness; all sorts of gunfire. From rifles to automatic anti-tank weapons which are still used and at that stage there were no ear defenders; nobody thought that any of this might cause deafness.
And I wasn’t actually, luckily, involved with any sort of major artillery, but I think there they probably would have given one some sort of ear protection.'
Ann Moss says 'I just woke up one morning and my left ear was ringing and I went to the doctor because it didn’t seem to stop. He said if it didn’t stop in a week he would send me for a hearing test. So it didn’t stop and I went for a hearing test and that was the start of my hearing problems.
Well, because it was on one side they sent me for a scan but nothing showed up and they couldn’t find any reason for it so they decided just to monitor it. I was back and forward to the audiology departments over the following year. The ringing went into my right ear then and gradually it began to affect my hearing and I had to have hearing aids.
It just gradually progressed from then. My hearing seemed to get worse and I was then sent to Manchester to see various consultants but unfortunately no reason could be found and eventually I was just signed off and told unless I had some dramatic change that there wasn’t anything really they could find to improve the situation.'
Philip Pollard says 'When I worked I was a marine engineer working on ships at sea. I needed to inspect a bulkhead on the ship. That involved climbing down a ladder after you’d been through a manhole. I was going through the manhole. I slipped. My feet left the ladder and the back of my head hit the edge of the manhole. I remember nothing.
The next thing I remember was waking up in the ship’s hospital still fully clothed in the bed. The captain looked at me and he said “there is a helicopter coming to pick you up”. I didn’t know why it was coming. I realised something was wrong with me. This helicopter picked me up and took me ashore. I think I was in intensive care but sedated for the next 5 days.
I was close to not surviving. But I did survive. When I came to, I’m fairly sure I could hear. But the following day or the day after, that’s when I lost my hearing. In those next 2 days. Because by the time my wife arrived I couldn’t hear.'
Billy Falconer says 'I was on a push bike and I was heading home from my aunt’s home with my new blazer for my new school, and I was quite happy, travelling down a road, and there was an ice cream van parked on the opposite side of the road from me and a car came round, it came round a double bend and didn’t see me and passed the ice cream van and I went over the top.
That was how my accident happened. I was taken to hospital. I was given 18 stitches in my face, and it was quite a few months before I could start back at high school. That’s when the problem started to arise with my hearing.'
Gerry Leeper says 'With Ménière’s you get things which I know now are called ‘drops’ where you can be walking along and you just suddenly drop and you’re dizzy and lying on the ground and you do not know how you got there.'
I was sitting in our house with my youngest boy, he was three at the time, and I got up to walk across the room and I adjusted the television set and the next thing I knew I was lying on the floor and the room was spinning round and I was really very, very ill and sick. I was able to speak to my son and he actually ran across the road and got a neighbour.' More about Menieres disease.