Massachusetts teacher on medical leave after 34 years
Ann Lesky is not mentally ill or suffering from emotional trauma. After 34 years of teaching Ann has had to leave the job she loved unable to teach anymore. As a sufferer from hyperacusis, Ann wants people to know that this is not in her head. She has ups and downs in her life like we all do; she’s a happy person who has a loving family, and wonderful friends.
In pain from everyday occurrences Ann doesn’t want others to experience the same tumultuous path she has had. It’s especially important for doctors to know how to handle a case such as Ann’s so that others will be cared for properly.
Ann was nice enough to share her story with us…
The incident happened in November of 2011. Her pain began at a meeting when a lovely person used her special talent to whistle using her fingers and mouth. Not an uncommon ability. Unfortunately she whistled directly in Ann’s ear. Ann collapsed in her chair and within seconds ran from the room throwing up. The pain was excruciating (worse than natural child birth) Ann stated. She couldn’t hear at all out of her left ear.
With help Ann made it to her doctor’s office and he immediately sent her to the hospital, Ann’s blood pressure was 220/190. She was on the verge of a stroke.
The pain in Ann’s ear felt like a steal rod being pushed and turned in her ear canal. It was in the doctor’s office waiting for the ambulance that the teakettle sound went off in her head. It became louder and louder. Ann had no idea what was happening to her.
This Massachusetts middle school teacher, returned to work after two weeks of rest and stabilizing her blood pressure with medicine prescribed. The doctor gave Ann no information about why her ears were hurting and why she had ringing in her ears. There were no comments or suggestions to help the pain. It was as if it did not exist in their minds.
For the remainder of the year Ann struggled to function. She had difficulty concentrating and focusing on any task. It was difficult to understand conversations due to the ringing being louder than the voices around her. She often became dizzy and disorientated her own voice echoed in her head.
Ann’s doctor was unable to see any reason for her pain, his response was that she needed to learn to deal with it and recommended mental health counseling once a month. Ann tells us she slept for hours after work, cried for hours because of the pain and noise build up in her head. Her life was forever changed by something out of her control yet no one had answers. It just kept getting worse.
When summer break came from school Ann had 10 weeks of quiet. She rested and even tried TLP cloud (The Listening Program) is a medical program for hearing pink noise, messages and meditation with some improvement. At the end of summer break a plan was put into place at the school where Ann would teach. Ann would have no meetings over 4 people, no extracurricular or special events, no lunch duty and she was informed of all drills and could leave the building, a substitute was available if she had to leave. It was obvious something was wrong because Ann was one of those teachers that never called off sick.
Ann was later diagnosed with hyperacusis which is a health condition characterized by being overly sensitive to everyday sounds.
There are two forms of hyperacusis:
• Cochlear hyperacisis which is most common causing ear pain, annoyance and a general intolerance to sounds most people don’t notice. Those with cochlear hyperacusis experience crying spells and panic attacks.
• Vestibular hyperacusis these sufferer experience dizziness, nausea, loss of balance when sounds of certain pitches are present.
Ann hopes that by sharing her story it will help spread awareness of hyperacusis. Be sure to catch the next article ‘The Massachusetts teacher story continued’ Just click on the ‘Subscribe’ button above.
Like to share your own story?
You can contact me (Wendy Spickerman) through my Facebook examiner page https://www.facebook.com/wendy.spickerman.examiner or send me an email outlining your proposal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Stories should range between 300 – 500 word count; though I do make exceptions at times. By sharing your stories, we hope to both inform others and raise awareness of this medical condition. Thank you