A man who can hear his eyeballs move and his heart beat, and finds the sound of his own chewing deafening, has been diagnosed with superior canal dehiscence syndrome. The rare condition, which was unknown until ten years ago is caused by a tiny hole in the temporal bone of the skull. Fluid from the semicircular canals of the inner ear leaks into the brain and conducts internal sounds.
UK based Stephen Mabbutt first experienced autophony, one of the symptoms of the syndrome in 2005. Over six years the condition worsened as other bodily noises joined in.
“I was sitting quietly alone in the house one evening, and I suddenly heard this quite loud scratchy noise, like sandpaper being rubbed on wood,” Mr Mabbutt said.
“I was quite alarmed and looked around, wondering what it was. Then I noticed the noise came every time I moved my eyes. I started to think I was going mad.”
He added, “The first symptoms appeared around 2005. I found if I raised my voice, I’d get a vibration in my head. If I was eating a bag of crisps, the crunching noise drowned out people speaking. Then I found I would be hearing my heartbeat.” Mr Mabbutt underwent an operation that cured the problem.