Did I have a stroke?

In May 2022 I was 39 years old but I had an incident where I got shut out on the roof of my house and had to climb down, which caused a lot of physical trauma including bruising across my torso and upper arms.

The next day I was in a job interview and noticed some difficulty following what people were saying. The intensity increased at home that evening, then became VERY loud tinnitus on one side, literally like having a fire alarm held up to my ear. I went to bed and fought to try and sleep through the noise.

By morning, the tinnitus was less loud but I had lost 100% of my hearing on the left side.

I panicked and booked a private GP appointment for the same day - he checked my ear and couldn’t see anything wrong, so he referred me to the hospital for an ear exam. By the time that took place, most of my hearing was restored - I passed the hearing test, an MRI of my ear was normal, so the case was dropped.

But since then I have continued to suffer persistent tinnitus and to really struggle with understanding language. I’ve stopped reading books; sometimes my partner will say a sentence to me and I hear every syllable but can’t figure out the words. I’ve been trying to learn Swedish and get on well with the written language but am way at the bottom of my class with conversation.

I decided to push for another hospital referral, which is happening this week, but it’s again focused around the ear. I thought I’d do some self research to prepare, seeing what else it could be, and discovered documents describing sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), which I’ve also linked to my physical trauma the previous day (perhaps a small blood clot that travelled) and to my long-term symptoms of tinnitus and aphasia, so could I have had a small stroke?

If it is a possibility, does anyone have tips for suggesting it to the healthcare provider and maybe getting support for that instead of just being dismissed as having healthy ears?

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Hi @BadgerLady & welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear of your ongoing issues. I hope you get some better answers at your appointment this week.

I’m not sure we can say whether your symptoms are stroke related or not but I can tell you that my tinnitus started when i had my stroke. It has never gone away though.

My advice would be to request a referral to a neurologist to see if they can shed any light on whats going on. An MRI scan would normally show up a stroke (although in a small number of cases it doesn’t) so you could perhaps request an MRI of the head - unless the one they did of your ear coveted all your head then that probably would have shown up any signs of a stroke.

I hope you get to the bottom of what’s going on soon.

Best wishes



Thank you!

Yes, at the time I was really excited about an MRI, thinking it would pick anything up, but realised during the scan that they were literally only looking at the ear itself.

The funny thing is, the hospital Doctor when she couldn’t find anything wrong escorted me to Dermatology to get a prescription for rosacea. Which was very nice of her, but I was utterly flummoxed that she was prioritising a cosmetic issue instead of trying to figure out why my world isn’t working correctly any more :rofl:

I will try and push for a neurology referral - that just feels so much more like what I need.


It does sound like you would benefit from a neurology referral if only to rule things out.

I love that you were taken to dermatology :grin: i guess she was trying to be helpful.

Good luck at your appointment & in getting the referral.



Not just a cosmetic issue. Certain conditions of the eye like blepharitis and MGD are accompanied by rosacea ; the skin balance goes out of whack, too (dry and red) this happened to me after my stroke. The ear can also be affected by rosacea. An ophthalmologist prescribed something awful for it but my sister suggested Acqua Alle Rose Roberts Classical Distilled Water from Amazon and it works better than anything else I tried. Good luck with your ear.

ciao, Roland


Shwmae @BadgerLady, first, I have to be a little picky and say that in the world of stroke, there is no such thing as a small stroke. Strokes are strokes and the result is subjective and comparative. Your issue may be cognitive, as aphasia can be caused by any number of brain disorders, not just stroke. Tinnitus, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by direct brain damage. It can be caused by stress and some medications, as well as a plethora of other things. As I am not medically trained, I would focus on your aphasia, and try and get to the root of that. Good luck :grinning:


I am glad you brought that up! I have just finished a VeDA (Vestibular Disorders Association) conference yesterday where this was brought up.


Hi @BadgerLady

Welcome to the forum although sorry that you have had reason to join us :slight_smile:

We are normally good at sharing useful experience but that never extends to being able to diagnose what someone’s cause of symptoms are - we can only speculate.

Everything you say is possible (But you have some unlikely correlations that might be leading to your concerns being downgraded by the medics).
You’re roof climbing or drain pipe climbing exploits would not be a typical example of a triggering cause. Lots of people get bruises and abrasions and the body has mechanisms for dealing with them and not transmitting clots to the brain - although the heart and other organs are a different matter and a hole in the heart which affects 25% of the population would allow clots to move onwards & make the drain pipe immaterial to the cause but would make the PFO (hole) a factor. If that caused you a lot of stress then maybe arterial fibrillation is a factor

The probability is What you speculate about is all coincidental - but that doesn’t mean you didn’t have a stroke .

@Rups is absolutely right to say while the medical profession might use the term ‘small stroke’ as a survivors we know the impacts start at profound & long term and be more severe then that

If you have ongoing issues w/ your ability to perceive the world and move within it then neurological factors would definitely be on the short list of potential, plausible causes

You should challenge the medical professions to give you provable explanations for your symptoms that would rule out for neurological causes - and then they should verify - maybe ask them if they have heard of epistemic humility (and if you run out of patience with them accuse them of every epistemic arrogance)

When it comes to matters of managing the aftermath we are collectively good at advising :slight_smile:

You may find the Welcome - what we wish we'd heard at the start gives you some comfort and insight and signposts


Thank you so much, everyone!

I’ve read a lot about tinnitus, as something that can come and go (mine is very consistent and only changes when flooded with hormones, such as immediately after very good sex), or as something linked to high blood pressure (my bp is consistently low). I’m in generally good health and don’t take medications.

I also can’t separate the fact that it came on clearly and immediately over a 12-hour period, exactly in synchronisation with my complete hearing loss. So, to me, it has to be a part of the diagnosis.

This seems to be the main (or only) study linking SSNHL to stroke risk: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/strokeaha.108.519090

It doesn’t prove a cause but does show increased risk of stroke following hearing loss, which implies a link.

Prior to the investigation I had also suspected immune disorder, maybe triggered by Covid, because I’d had mysterious rashes and fatigue, but that’s another kind of inquiry that’s almost impossible to get medical attention for.

Anyway, amateur speculation is kind of pointless, as long as I can get the right referral on Wednesday, so fingers crossed! Thank you for all the pointers and for welcoming me in :blush: