A sudden hearing loss in paradise (part 1)

My parents wanted to show us something very special before they both turn 80 which still is a couple of years away. So they invited us, me, my wife Silvia and our two boys Nicola and Simon together with my brother Andreas and his partner Emanuelle to spend an autumn holiday in October 2019 on a lovely island in the middle of the Maldives.


The name of the island is Veligandu and it fulfills about every cliche of a tropical paradise. It was simply wonderful and never before have I arrived so profoundly on a holiday destination not only physically but also mentally as was the case during this family gathering in the Rasdu-Atoll.

My parents, my brother , his partner and our younger son Simon took great pleasure in their daily snorkeling excursions on the house reef. Our older son Nicola took advantage of the opportunity and successfully completed a diving course with the Padi Open Water certificate. After 16 years of abstinence Silvia and I were very eager to go diving again. We have completed more than 200 dives together before we became parents. To make sure that our new endeavor will be as safe an joyful as possible we both completed a Padi Refresher course with "Tauchsport Signer" in Schmerikon / Switzerland. We also invested quite a bit to make sure our equipment is up and running and lives up to all safety standards.

One evening after one week on the island with super dives, super food and super company I suddenly had the feeling of water in one ear. The very next morning it became clear to me that it was't water that blocked my ear. It was a sudden hearing loss. I knew the feeling as I experienced it already once roughly 7 years ago. Now the big question was what was the reason for it. Had it something to do with the diving or was it the sudden stress relieve due to those lovely holidays?


The dive instructors as well as the head of the dive school were very concerned an I tried instantaneously to get some cortisone into my middle executing the Valsalva-maneuver with some nose spray containing cortisone. Of course I stopped diving but I wanted to know if it was connected to the diving or not. Therefor I joined my boys for an afternoon snorkeling trip on the house reef.

Meine Theorie was that if I dive down to a depth of roughly 5 m and my world doesn't start spinning, then we can safely assume that my hearing loss is not related to a "Hydrops Cochleae". In this case it's more likely that my hearing loss is due to a temporary loss of blood circulation and therefore a temporary lack of oxygen in the hear cells of my right Cochlea. As I felt much better on 5 m depth than walking on land I assumed the latter.


One method to try to cure the symptoms of a sudden hearing loss is called "hyperbaric oxygen therapy". So I decided to o diving again the very next day. As Silvia and I use Nitrox, oxygen enriched air, for diving, breathing that in depth to 30 m (4 bar atmospheric pressure) is roughly the same as a hyperbaric oxygen therapy. To continue diving was worse while at least regarding our under water experiences...

Sadly it did not due any good for my hearing and my 90 plus percent hearing loss has not recovered since. The accompanying tinnitus, n my case a rather "pleasant" broad band noise, has stayed as well. On June 8th, 2020 I received an Implant in the general hospital of Lucerne / Switzerland by Prof. med. Th. Linder. but more about this in my next entry.

Thank you for your interest


Your hearing car specialist, cyborg and CI-Punk - René


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