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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

"It was chaos in my ears": Woman could hear all the sounds her body made

She had life-changing surgery to fix the problem.

Source: UCLA Health/YouTube

A WOMAN COULD hear all the sounds her body made – from rolling her eyes to digesting her food – until she had life-changing surgery.

UCLA reports on the woman’s condition, explaining how UCLA patient Rachel Pyne (27) from Indiana, was plagued by “inescapable” and “deafening sounds”, from the thump of her footsteps to the swoosh of her eyes moving.

The condition also led to her losing her balance and suffering from dizziness and nausea, which UCLA said was “debilitating”.

What caused it?

“I couldn’t fall asleep. I would lie there and wish that my head would stop spinning,” said Pyne. “It was chaos in my ears.”

It was all due to a condition called ‘superior semicircular canal dehiscence’ (SSCD).

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre ear surgeon Dr Quinton Gopen explained that SSCD is a hole that develops between the inner ear and the brain.

That region of the inner ear has sealed compartments with little fluid chambers, and occasionally a hole will develop in the bone and allow for these problems to arise.

SSCD affects an estimated one person per half million, and it often takes quite some time before people get a correct diagnosis – Pyne saw nine doctors. One doctor told her she was “going to have to live with it”, while others attributed it to migraines.

Dr Gopen said this type of situation is not uncommon.

Diagnosis and treatment

Pyne found an online support group launched by a former patient of Gopen’s.

She flew a year ago to LA to be examined by the doctor, who diagnosed her in 15 minutes.

Rachel+surgeons_mid Rachel with her surgeons Source: UCLA

He also told her he could operate on her – causing her to cry from relief.

Dr Isaac Yang, Gopen’s colleague, said:

Because we see a lot of these cases, we not only believe them when they say they can hear their eyeballs or neck muscles move, but we can help them.

Drs Yang and Gopen use a “minimally invasive surgical technique” to cure SSCD, which patches the hole. They work together, finding the tiny holes (which are about the size of the tip of a pen), and plugging them with ‘bone wax’.

Pyne had the surgery in November and said she is “just so thankful” of the results.

As soon as I woke up from surgery I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s gone”!

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