September 19th, 2012
05:14 PM ET

Finally, quiet for man who could hear workings of his own body

A 44-year-old man in Dartmouth, Massachusetts can finally hear normally after a decade of being tormented by the sounds of his own body.

For 10 years, Manny Pavao was afflicted with superior canal dehiscence syndrome, caused by a tiny hole in the bone that separates the inner ear from the brain.

All day, Pavao would hear everything from the beating of his own heart to the movement of his eyes, which he describes to CNN affiliate WCVB as a grating sound, like "rubbing sandpaper on a piece of wood back and forth."

Pavao tells the station his own voice was amplified, like he "was talking through a speaker that was blown out."

Superior canal dehiscnece is such a rare condition that it is commonly missed in diagnosis because of similarities to other ailments.

Dr. Daniel Lee of Massachusetts Eye and Ear tells WCVB it often "resembles many common conditions of the ear like allergies or Eustachian tube dysfunction."

While watching the local news, Pavao's wife saw a story about a woman who was cured of a similar condition.

"It was hope. Something he had not had in all those years and it was amazing," Linda Pavao said.

During a four-hour procedure Lee repaired the microscopic hole and others in the bone with Pavao's own tissue.

After the surgery Pavao said he was shocked that he had been cured and said he became emotional after he couldn't hear the sound of his own footsteps.

After a decade of daily aggravation, Pavao said, "I'm looking forward to the second phase of my life."

soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. bubbA

    wonder if he ever tried those great Bose noise canceling headphones?

    September 20, 2012 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DarnWoman

      That wouldn't work, considering the issue was inside his head, not outside.

      September 20, 2012 at 01:39 | Report abuse |
    • Cleveland Rocks!

      My wife and children are often tormented by the sounds of MY body.

      September 20, 2012 at 07:10 | Report abuse |
    • JonfromLI

      Those things are such a crock. Why pay upwards of $150 or more for a stupid pair of headphones when you can get a fine generic pair of "noise cancelling" headphones with volume control at Radio Shack for about $20 or so. I have no problem whatsoever with mine when I use it on a plane or the train.

      September 20, 2012 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • El Jefe

      John, they're not a crock...they work significantly better than the $20 ones, the sound itself is better, and they're more comfortable than the cheap ones. It could be that you don't value them that much, but that doesn't make it a "crock", it just makes you a person who cannot justify the higher price tag for the higher quality. Nothing wrong with that, you should just realize the difference.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
  2. Bobby Webster

    His gas must have really sucked.

    September 20, 2012 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cleveland Rocks!

      After I eat a big bowl of fried cabbage and grilled onions, my bodily sounds torment EVERYONE.

      September 20, 2012 at 07:12 | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      I would think his gas really blew not "sucked".

      September 20, 2012 at 08:08 | Report abuse |
  3. Dave

    This condition is like a ass taking up all your life every day. You have to experience it and suffer through it to understand how painful morons are for the non-morons.


    September 20, 2012 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wisco30

      Come again?

      September 20, 2012 at 09:25 | Report abuse |
    • Sylvia

      Dave's right; this condition is no laughing matter. I've lived with it in various degrees for most of my life. My first symptom was hearing a clicking sound when I blinked, or a scratching sound as my eyes moved back and forth. It's progressed to the point where I can't walk without assistance because my balance is so bad. One loud, sudden noise can make me fall. I've permanently injured one shoulder as I tried to catch myself and prevent a fall after a construction truck passed my house. It's no laughing matter, and it can be dangerous.

      It's debilitating and has made me housebound for the past seven, near eight years now. I have to control the sounds that I'm exposed to just to be able to function anywhere near normal and that's within my OWN home. I had to stop working and attending college as the symptoms have for all intents crippled me.

      I've had surgery to try to correct the defect but what usually happens is that other defects are present with this, other vestibular disorders too..My sound tolerance before my last procedure(the third) was 45 dB's; that's 2 people talking softly in a quiet room. Any sounds close to what's considered a normal range, approximately 80 dB's and I would not be able to stand or walk. I literally FELT sound! As of now, my tolerance is 60 dB's; that was a welcome improvement, but we're not done yet!

      To the person who suggested the noise canceling headphones: that's a fine idea for when a neighbor is doing yard work and that's exactly what I've had to do, but mine are industrial headphones. I have to wear them indoors when someone two house down from me is mowing their lawn, and that's with my windows closed. Getting the idea of what this does to us now?

      All I want is, all I've EVER wanted since 2005, when I became debilitated by this, is to be repaired from this, to live a normal and productive life, to be able to leave my home, to be able to go for a walk without having to use a walker, or need someone to walk with me as I'm a fall risk.

      To those who've joked about this condition; don't; it's cruel and only makes you look foolish.. You want to call me a whiner? Go ahead; you know NOTHING of what I and others who have this live with.. This is a real condition and deserves to be treated as such. If you had to live with what we do, you'd understand, but then again, I wouldn't WANT you to live with this because THAT thought is too cruel to even THINK about. Just be glad you DON'T have it..

      May 3, 2013 at 08:14 | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Manny & Linda, What a great story & outcome. May you have years of peace. Praises to Dr. Lee.

    September 20, 2012 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Yosemite Sam

    He should consider himself lucky for not having to experience my body after a bowl of chili.

    September 20, 2012 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. poop smeer

    I have constant train horn honking outside where I live. it sucks!

    September 20, 2012 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. inachu

    Only weird noise i get is when i drive wirh my window down and play loud must and if i chew gumwith my mouth open with lous radio and window down then i can hear the sound reverberation in my mouth and if it is opened in a certain way then it sounds like a siren then i look around for police but no police there. I might have a eustsntion tube defect or something.

    September 20, 2012 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Clam Louie

      Sounds like you just have mental illness along with an extremely low IQ. There is no cure........for stupid.

      September 20, 2012 at 08:14 | Report abuse |
  8. Echo

    Yeah, I know that problem about hearing my eyes move. Really annoying, but nothing like Manny's problem. I wish him well!

    September 20, 2012 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Lori

    I have, in the last year, been diagnosed with this. I would like to get in touch with Manny and any others who have it. It is debilitating. I do not have a pin hole, rather an erosion of my temporal bone... please, can you put me in touch somehow?

    September 20, 2012 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Glenn

      Contact WCVB via their website, or by phone, they will likely put you directly in touch with the doctor's office that was involved.

      September 20, 2012 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • Dorine

      Lori ~ if you havent already check out a website called whooshers.com ~ it has alot of info and support ~ I know because I also have this condition.

      September 20, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      I Susan have had the same thing in the temperal lobes they are seizeizues. they are like someone is talking
      to me, it scares me i fell like i will lose my eye sight.

      September 20, 2012 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
    • L.W.


      I was diagnosed with erosion of temporal bone (+unusually high arterial loop) – by doctors at NYU Langone, neurointerventional radiologists.

      The "tinnitus expert" at MEEI I saw before I saw the NYU docs said it was something else, microvascular compression of an auditory nerve. (He is no longer at MEEI.)

      I live in Metrowest Boston and have been attending http://www.whooshers.com meetings in NYC over the last few years.....hoping to attend one at NYU on 10/28.

      ...getting used to the problem, but it has been helpful for me to share thoughts/feelings with others who have the same problem.

      Check out the whooshers,com site if you haven't already.


      October 14, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • karrie

      Lori there is a support group with people with this condition and who have had the surgery.https://www.facebook.com/SuperiorSemicircularCanalDehiscence

      February 26, 2013 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • Bea

      I too have it on the right ear. In my case I don't have the bone that separates the inside ear from the brain… I hear my eyes and I have constant ringing in the ear, actually it sounds like hundreds of crickets and often the ringing too. I also hear my steps inside my head if walk on the street, even with tennis shoes one. So far I have had bad vertigo twice only. And I do hear my own voice inside my head, specially if a little louder… It is not fun! Of course I have lost my hearing quite a bit.

      November 3, 2016 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
  10. JJ

    Wow lori what a coincidence. You just happen to read the right article what are the odds? I read an article the other day about BS syndrome. Do you happen to have that to?

    September 20, 2012 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LH

      Or, she read the article because she saw that it was relevant to her life. Duh.

      September 20, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • supermom23

      You're an idiot. It's on CNN, not some obscure medical journal.

      September 20, 2012 at 08:37 | Report abuse |
    • Lulu

      JJ – have you ever thought that Lori might have been searching for information on her condition and came across this article?

      September 20, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • Solitairedog

      JJ, you are not a detective and your logic is flawed. I came across the article and so did you. So did Lori. Get over yourself.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
  11. C Humphries

    Lori here is the contact information for Dr. Daniel Lee of Massachusetts Eye and Ear

    September 20, 2012 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. glenview0818

    My body does something rather tormenting to others once in a while?

    September 20, 2012 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Wyatt

    So this isnt something that everyone experiences? I've been the same way since I can remember, but thought everyone experiences this....

    September 20, 2012 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Meh

    Hmmm, I wonder what a money shot sounds like...

    September 20, 2012 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Elizabeth

    My grandmother had a problem like that when she was very old, in her 90s, and it would keep her awake at night. She did not have alzheimer's. She said she could hear her heartbeat, and other sounds, just like those described. Lots of elderly have ear problems that cause balance problems; more needs to be checked than hearing. There are audiologists who only check hearing, and then charge a fortune for hearing aids.
    I'm glad that something has been found to help the situation.

    September 20, 2012 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Beano worked wonders for me.

    September 20, 2012 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Bill

    This is a very old story. I read this at least 6 months ago. Must be a slow news day.

    September 20, 2012 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • So what?

      Do you know anything about the word "choice"? 0_0

      September 21, 2012 at 05:56 | Report abuse |
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