Woman Can Hear Her Own Blood Flowing And Her Eyeballs Moving
A 32-year-old mum claims that she has never heard silence because she can hear her blood pumping through her veins and even her own eyeballs moving about.
In fact, she spent the first 14 years of her life assuming that it was normal until she told her mother. She's spent the years since then searching for a diagnosis.
Doctors gave her medication to unblock her ears and nasal passage, but that didn't work. Eventually, she gave up hope and just assumed that she'd have to learn to live with the problems forever.
However, once she moved up to Glasgow she was referred to a specialist who was finally able to put a name to her problem.
She was diagnosed with bilateral superior semi-circular canal dehiscence in 2016.
Basically, that means that she is a bit of the temporal bone in both her ear canals, which can affect her balance, as well as her hearing.
But, with the diagnosis comes hope. She's recently had surgery on one of her ears and will have surgery on the other in October. With this surgery, she hopes that she might eventually get some peace and quiet.
Gemma said: "I've never heard complete silence. I've always had noises. I've always heard my eyes moving and my heartbeat in my head.
"I've always heard my blood rushing, like a swooshing sound. I think it's the eye movement thing which is the most concerning because it's constant.
"When you do say to someone 'I can hear my eyeballs moving', people ask me what it sounds like and I try to think of so many things that I can describe it with but I just can't tell you a sound that sounds even remotely similar to it."
"I've never heard it outside of my head. It's not of a liquid sound, it's more of a rubbing sound. It sounds like it's the noise of it hitting against the side of my eyeball.
"It's not squeaky, but it's similar. It's deep in the back of my head. You get tinnitus with it as well, so there are always noises going on.
"It plays with my balance as well, so because the bones are missing, if there is a really loud noise it just knocks me off balance completely.
"It makes me feel dizzy and a bit sick. I stumble about quite a lot because my balance is not great."
Despite her issues, Gemma still manages to live a relatively normal life, caring for her son and working in a cafe.
She continued: "I still go to work and things like that, but it affects things like playing with my son, or if we go to places which are really loud or if he's being really loud it can get to be too much.
"It's like an overload. I have to say, 'right, that's enough' and it can be quite draining.
"If there are more than a couple of noises going on at once it can overstimulate me. My ears just can't take it.
"I quite like running but again it's because when your heart starts to pump faster, it's like pulsating tinnitus and I hear it and feel it."
"It gets me really dizzy and sometimes I just think it's not worth it. Especially at work and things if I move my head too quickly to one side it will knock me off balance and vice versa.
"Even moving my eyes too quickly will knock me off balance. I am always hearing something. Even if my eyes are still, I can still hear my heart and the blood and the tinnitus.
"When I'm in bed, I will try and stay dead quiet and still. I've had it for so long so it doesn't affect anything like sleep or anything like that. I don't hear it when I'm asleep.
"Sometimes I just want to sit and be quiet and not hear anything. I feel bad saying it because it's not like I'm dying, but it does take its toll - especially when I can't hear as well as everybody else"
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