Up until fairly recently I could expect to have an extended period of deafness every winter following any cold I got. If it was particularly protracted it wasn't unusual to become pretty miserable as a result - and twice it was bad enough to border on depression. People tend to get fed up repeating themselves and you get fed up asking for people to repeat themselves so you end up feeling (and being) excluded. It's also very, very difficult to teach when you can't hear. I've long thought that losing my hearing permanently would be worse than losing my sight - people tend to be kind and/or helpful to the visually impaired but have a tendency to treat the deaf as though they're stupid. It took a long time to persuade my GP that hearing aids would be useful for intermittent hearing loss like mine but it was such a relief when I got them (I mostly only used one). Oddly, I haven't needed either hearing aid since my heart attack which, coincidentally, happened just as I was leaving a hearing aid clinic appointment at the hospital. So it turned out that my deafness was literally life saving....had I been in work instead of at the hospital I'd most likely not be around to write this post!