Lauryn who went deaf pictured with her boyfriend (Picture: Lauryn Schutte / SWNS.COM)
Student Lauryn Schutte, 21, had suffered pain in her ears for months but had been constantly dismissed by doctors.
One doctor even blamed her excruciating earache on shampoo which was irritating her ears – and told her to change brands.
But after waking up in agony in October 2019, Lauryn was rushed to hospital and discovered she had lost most of her hearing overnight.
Lauryn is now completely deaf in her left ear, and with increased difficulties in her right ear, she relies on a hearing aid and has learned how to lip-read.
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But she said that proved pointless when masks became mandatory in shops months later during the pandemic.
The psychology student, from Dover, said: ‘I feel like, through this whole journey, the doctors didn’t care at all. I felt like not one of them was interested in helping me.
‘One doctor told me it was because of the shampoo I was using and that I should change shampoo brands.’
Lauryn now wears a badge on her mask (Picture: Lauryn Schutte / SWNS.COM)
Lauryn still doesn’t know what caused her hearing problems.
As a child, she experienced soreness in her ears and had tiny tubes called grommets inserted into her eardrums which got rid of the pain.
She was surprised when the pain returned in February 2019 and went for a hearing test where she discovered she had a slight hearing loss in her left ear.
With the pain becoming increasingly worse, Lauryn turned to her doctor for help but was shocked when it was suggested that her shampoo had caused the irritation.
She said: ‘I never really thought I’d lose my hearing so young. I always thought that I would lose my hearing at an older age like everyone else so it’s been a real shock.
‘I knew something bad was going to happen – I just didn’t know when.’
Just two months after her appointment, Lauryn woke up in agony with a severe earache.
Her boyfriend Ashley rushed her to Ashford Hospital’s A&E where she was given an appointment that same day but by that time, Lauryn had completely lost her hearing in her left ear.
She said: ‘It was very, very painful – I’ve never had such bad ear pain in my life.
‘I struggled to get to sleep when we got back home but I eventually did and by that time, the pain killers had worked and it wasn’t as painful.
‘It was very scary, I didn’t know what was going on and I had no clue what was going to happen.
‘When I woke up, that’s when I noticed I couldn’t hear a single thing in my left ear. My fear had become a reality.’
The cause of her condition is still not determined (Picture: Lauryn Schutte / SWNS.COM)
Doctors prescribed steroids which sadly did not work and Lauryn is now adjusting to life with permanent hearing loss in her left ear.
She underwent an MRI scan in December 2019 but doctors have still not been able to find the cause for her hearing loss.
Terrifyingly, Lauryn started to lose hearing in her right ear in February 2020 but doctors were able to stop the loss in its tracks with another course of steroids.
Her otology appointment has now been cancelled four times due to coronavirus and Lauryn is due to see a doctor in January 2021.
Whilst waiting for medical assistance, Lauryn has focused on moving forward on her own with the help of her boyfriend Ashley, 26.
Lauryn said: ‘I actually lost my hearing two weeks after getting together with Ashley.
‘It did affect our relationship at the beginning as I felt very depressed and ugly with having to wear a hearing aid at just 20 years old.
‘Ashley has been very supportive throughout it all. We’ve got used to it now. He knows not to talk to me without getting my attention first and knows not to stand on my left side, so everything is much better now.’
One doctor initially told Lauryn that her condition was caused by shampoo in the ear
Determined Lauryn has learned to lip-read but online lectures for her university course and mandatory masks have now caused a massive setback.
She has had to contact her lecturers at Canterbury Christ Church University after finding the subtitles on lecture slides to be inaccurate and sometimes missing altogether.
Struggling in shops, Lauryn bought a badge to wear so staff members would know of her hearing issues.
Lauryn said: ‘My hearing loss was very unexpected and just when I thought I had gotten the hang of lip-reading, we all had to start wearing masks.
‘I think as a society, we need to be more accommodating of people with hearing issues, especially now during the pandemic.
‘I’m moving forward with my life despite not knowing what happened or what the future holds for my hearing – I’m not going to let this stop me from doing what I want.’
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