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A student who went deaf overnight after experts blamed her hearing loss on her shampoo.
Lauryn Schutte, 21, had suffered pain in her ears for months but claims she was constantly dismissed by doctors.
This was until she woke up in agony and was rushed to hospital where it was discovered she had lost most of her hearing overnight.
Following the shock diagnosis in October 2019 Lauryn learned to lip read so she could communicate properly which is pointless to her as masks were made mandatory in shops.
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.
"I would think that a 21 year old girl who lost her hearing overnight would be important but they just keep cancelling my appointments and I'm completely in the dark.
"I'm almost completely deaf in one ear and have ongoing struggles with my other ear. It's been over a year and they still haven't told me why I lost my hearing.
"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 its been a real shock."
As a child, Lauryn 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 slight hearing loss in her left ear.
With the pain becoming increasingly worse, Lauryn turned to her doctor for help but was left shocked when it was suggested that her shampoo had caused the irritation.
Then, on 3 October Lauryn woke up in agony with severe earache in the early hours of the morning. Her boyfriend Ashley rushed her to Ashford Hospital's A&E department where she was given an appointment for 10AM that same day but by that time, Lauryn had completely lost her hearing in her left ear.
Doctors prescribed steroids which sadly didn't 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.
In February 2020 Lauryn started to lose hearing in her right ear 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 the coronavirus and Lauryn is hoping to see a doctor in January 2021 - 15 months after she lost her hearing.
Whilst waiting for medical assistance, Lauryn has focused on moving forward on her own with the help of her boyfriend Ashley, 26.
Determined Lauryn has learnt 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 but was crushed when she was ridiculed by fellow shoppers.
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 bought a badge that says 'I'm deaf in one ear, please speak up' and I put it on my mask but then the first time I used it, a girl mocked me for it.
"She pointed it out to her friends and laughed at me. It really annoyed me because anyone could lose their hearing at any point in their life.
"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."
LADbible has reached out to Ashford Hospital for a comment.
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