This is a story about a kiss - an expression of love so potent from a little girl -- that it caused her mother not only to lose her hearing in one ear after a buss on the ear, but to be thrust into the pages of medical history. Yet it wasn't the sound of the smackaroo that damaged the hearing of Hicksville homemaker Gail Schwartzman, but a suction force that displaced the woman's eardrum, paralyzed a tiny trio of bones and left residual sounds in her head. Schwartzman's case will be the subject of a medical journal report within the coming weeks, outlining for the first time what the author calls "the kiss of deaf."
Schwartzman describes the kiss as physically painful but says it has left a deeper emotional scar on her daughter. Even as she recounted details of the kiss planted two years ago, the child, now 6, broke into tears, apologizing to her mom. Schwartzman requested that her daughter's name not be published. "She grabbed me and gave me a hug and a really big kiss on the left ear. And while she was doing it, it felt like she was sucking the air out of my head. I couldn't push her away because I had this terrible sensation in my head," Schwartzman said. "When she was finished, I had no hearing in that ear. The hearing slowly came back but with screeching noises in my ear," she said, referring to sounds known medically as tinnitus. Although some of her hearing has returned, allowing her to hear in muffled tones, the tinnitus has remained.