Rare extra-sensitive acute hearing condition treated


"I can hear just about anything that goes on in my body," said Kevin Lee.

He can hear his heart. And Lee, 57, says when his eyeballs move it sounds like hands rubbing together.

Lee is so sensitive that a barking dog can throw him off balance.

"When that dog barks it makes me feel like I'm falling down," said Lee.

Lee has superior canal dehiscence. The bone that separates the inner ear from the brain becomes thinned or breaks.

"It's very rare. Less than one in 100,000 people have this," said Dr. William Slattery, House Clinic.

It was first described 14 years ago when CT scans became sophisticated enough to capture the delicate bones of the ear canal.

It all started six months ago. When Lee described his symptoms to doctors, they thought he was crazy. It wasn't until he met Dr. Slattery at the House Clinic that he found his answer.

"I felt so relieved," said Lee.

The treatment: surgery to rebuild the thinned-out area with artificial bone.

"We do have to lift up the brain to get into this area, but fortunately it actually works very well to control the symptoms," said Slattery.

He hopes sharing will help others with the same condition. He can't wait for the sounds inside his head to stop.

"I'm so ready for the surgery. I'm so ready," said Lee.

Lee underwent surgery to repair the bone above his ear canal early Tuesday morning. Dr. Slattery said that 10 minutes after waking up from the operation, Lee said the condition was gone.

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