Sudden sensorineural deafness: I lost my hearing overnight


When Cynthia Marrone woke up one October morning, something had changed and life would never be the same again. She’d lost her hearing overnight. While ordinary hearing aids couldn’t help her, a Baha System could. This is the story of her journey, told in her own words:

“I live in New Jersey with my husband, 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter. I lost my hearing just over a year ago. I remember the exact date, October 4th, 2013. I had gone to bed the night before perfectly normal and healthy.  When I woke up at 6am, I felt weird – the left side of my head was numb and I was a little dizzy. My right side was fine, but I couldn’t hear anything out of my left ear. I thought I had an ear infection. At work the dizziness continued, and I couldn’t hear at all.  Afterwards I went to an emergency medical facility. They said my ear was fine and referred me to the ENT department.

I will never forget the moment when the doctor told me I had experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss. I was terrified.  What was going to happen to me?

Permanent hearing loss

A few weeks later I had an appointment with Dr. Stewart at John Hopkins Hospital. That was a tough day.  He informed me that it wasn’t going to heal, that I was never going to regain my hearing.  My hearing loss was permanent.  He told me that hearing aids wouldn’t help me.  What could help me was a Baha System. To show me how it worked, he put a headband on me and lowered his voice to a whisper. And I heard him! That was all it took. I told him I’m ready, let’s do this.

Two weeks later I went in for surgery, and a number of weeks after that I was fitted with my sound processor.

Once I realised I could hear, I just started crying.  Finally, I would be able to have my old normal life back again.

 Going into retreat

In that short period of time after I lost my hearing, I found myself retreating and not wanting to engage in social activities and the things I usually love – going out to restaurants, attending school functions with my kids or going to the theatre. I work as a social worker, assessing and approving international adoptions. But before I got my Baha Attract System, I struggled to do my job. I see families and have to evaluate and assess their abilities as parents to adopt a child. After I lost my hearing, I struggled through interviews, experienced trouble hearing, and had a difficult time concentrating.

Back to life

Now, with the Baha Attract System, people don’t even notice I have hearing loss. I do trainings and presentations at work, talk to people and don’t have any problems hearing them. I can function in any setting without a problem. Recently we went to a concert.  I have different programs available for concerts, but I really felt like I didn’t even need them.  Everything sounded great.  I like to go shopping, cook, entertain, and now with my Baha system that’s not a challenge. It has given me the ability to live my life normally and do the things I always have loved.

My husband also thinks it’s great.  We don’t have to worry about him sitting on my “good” side or me not being able to hear him.  He can sit anywhere and I can hear. My children just think everything is back to normal. It’s part of who I am now. When people ask me about it, I’m happy to tell them what the Baha System is and how it has helped me.Cyndi-Baha-5-Sound-Processor

I lost my hearing in October, had surgery in January, and it was the right thing for me.  I don’t regret it at all.  I think if I would have waited, I would still be sitting here, wondering whether or not I should have done it. It’s been great, there’s no downside.

Low maintenance

In terms of hearing, the Baha Attract System works beautifully and is low maintenance.  I can work, exercise and run training programs.  I wore my sound processor on vacation in Venezuela – even down to the pool, and just put it in a pouch when I got in the water. I personally love that I don’t have the abutment. I worried about this because I have sensitive skin, so I’m very glad I chose the Baha Attract System.

It’s never going to be the exact same as my normal hearing, but you can’t expect perfection.  Our bodies are miracles, but the Baha System is darn good and I can hear.

My favorite sound is being able to hear the birds outside. When my mum passed away from cancer, she said when you hear the birds, think of me.  So I go outside, I listen to the birds, and I think of her.”

Outcomes may vary. Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases.