Published November 20, 2014
The earthquake that rattled a wide swath of the eastern U.S. this week may have been a blessing in disguise for a 75-year-old who regained his hearing after the 5.8-magnitude tremor hit, myFOXdc.com reported Thursday.
Robert Valderzak, of Washington, D.C., lost his hearing in a fall on June 19 -- Father's Day. Since then the cancer patient has been at the Virginia Medical Center using a special speaker phone and an audio device system to communicate.
But on Tuesday, something strange happened while his four children were visiting and the earthquake rocked the region at 1:51p.m. local time.
When it was over, Valderzak, who had sat in silence for two months, sat up in his bed and told his kids, "My hearing is back. I can hear everything, people in the hallway."
As the quake shook him around in his bed, he said something happened in his head and he could suddenly hear and talk again.
Dr. Ross Fletcher, chief of staff at the Virginia Medical Center in northwest D.C., said Valderzak suffered "conductive loss, meaning that could be due to fluid or problems with the bones of the ear," along with nerve loss.
The doctor said the return of his hearing was surprising to many and further tests would need to be done.
"Some people seem to be a little frightened by it, but he is delighted that this earthquake came along because soon after the event, he could hear everything in the room very clearly," Ross said.
"I think there is still some hearing loss if I test him informally. We do have the ability to look into audiograms and do it more formally."
But Valderzak said he does not care about any test -- he already knows what happened.
"To me, it was a miracle, a blessing from God up above. Couldn't ask for a better day," he said.