Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Acute hearing as possible link to Schizophrenia

My son,from the time he was born,always cried and no matter what we tried,nothing seemed to work. That was 44 years ago. We went to many doctors,whom at the time said he would grow out of it,whatever “it” was.
He would cry,cry,and keep crying,while at the same time,kick things and throw many tantrums. By the time he was around
eight years old,he started to get better,had some friends,and up to and including his teen years,he was a normal,active,athletic son. He was into martial arts going to school and doing fairly well.
Then,when he was about 29,he changed overnight and I mean,overnight. He was a completely different person and we tried to do everything we could to get him help. It took approximately 3 years to get him into a treatment center and we were lucky because one very caring lady, happen to remember me always calling to see if a space was available.
The hospital kept him for 3 months,until a space opened up for him and it was the longest 3 months in my life because I thought they would release him or that a space would never open for him. He is doing quite well now but as all of you probably know,you never stop worrying.
The reason I’m telling this,is that all his life,he has heard voices,thought he had an implant in his teeth or somewhere in his head,was sure that the government had someone following him,and the most important thing,that I have thought about for the last few years,is his acute hearing.Since he was about 8 months of age,he could hear things from a long distance,i.e.,he would scream at his brother,that he was breathing too loud for him to sleep and started fighting with him.This was and is still a problem. He now always has a pair of headphones on most of the time and listens to music,even when working. Has anyone else had this type of acute hearing and could this have caused his disease ? I mean,he can’t take any kind of loud noise at all. I have seen him cry tears when someone in the same vicinity as him is loud.
This was quite a long winded way to say what i have said but if this can help someone else,then it will be worth it.
Than you for listening.

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What a coincidence, I just came across this yesterday:

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This makes total sense.

This was fascinating. I’m very sensitive to noises, and if I anticipate going somewhere that is going to be noisy, I wear ear plugs to cut down on some of the noise. I can still hear customers, for example, if I need to respond to them, while I am bussing a table at a restaurant, because I can still hear well enough even with the ear plugs in. That’s how sensitive my ears are to noise.

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The reason I go with a walkman is that some can’t afford an i phone and my son really like the walkman. You can buy them in thrift stores for $5-$15 so I always buy them for him and have so far accumulated 5. He has really settled down and works 4 days a week plus has a nice 1 bedroom apartment with support staff available. I am really proud of him because about 15 years ago he took the advanced St. John’s Ambulance course and last year he saved a mans life by giving him CPR. When he was younger he started a conservation officer’s course but was advised that there were not many jobs available so he switched to an ambulance course with the intention of being a Paramedic.He is doing quite well at this time and I see him a few times a week, We start fishing this spring which is also good for people with this horrible disease. Fishing is relaxing and if you catch and release with barbless hooks,you can have a great time, He has also learned to make his own Fly’s.which takes much patience. Thanks for listening.

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My daughter is sensitive to noises and bright light.

Near the beginning of his first episodes, my son’s sense of smell and hearing were both acute. They were often verifiable, that is, he would say he smelled something but no one else did - until later we did smell what he was smelling. Same with hearing.

Sunglasses,earphones,and a Walkman work for my son,so give it a try and let me know. The sun glasses were added at the end and helped to take away a few distractions.

My sense of hearing was always very acute. I remember as a child I was terrified of crickets because of the sounds they made. I once saw a Katzenjammer kids cartoon that showed a dark cave with crickets and other insects with large eyes in the dark and I imagined crickets as large monsters. I would warn people not to go out at night, since the crickets might get them.

I think it definitely factored into my shyness growing up and my interest in music. So withdrawal in my prodrome came naturally and most people didn’t notice, and I was not fully socially equipped to deal with the stresses of college life. I would play music loudly and on headphones to block out background noise. As my sound sensitivity got worse it became increasingly harder to concentrate, my schoolwork suffered and started covering up my failings.

Eventually I became delusional and imagined I was being followed by people barely in the range of my hearing. How much of this was correctly overhearing and interpreting things, misinterpreting or misperception of actual stimulus, or complete hallucination I don’t know. I built an elaborate delusional system to explain what I ‘heard’ and dropped out of full time college and sought treatment.

Initially I rolled-my-own CBT detective or troubleshooting approach to reality checking and what I should and shouldn’t worry or speak to others about along with psychotherapy. Somehow I managed to hold down a part time job and go to college part time for a year before I started anti-psychotic medication. I only started medication because it became clear to me that I would lose my job, as my ability to manage my symptoms without drugs was deteriorating.

Twenty-five years later I’m much better at managing my sound sensitivity now. So much so that sound filtering seems second nature unless I’m in very noisy environments or traveling abroad where I’m hearing foreign languages or unaccustomed accents. That’s my main cause of paranoid or delusional episodes now, and these tend to be few and far between.

I credit this to voice and musical training and gradual exposure to theater and occupation work environments. Medication doesn’t hurt either, but I don’t think I would have had as full a recovery without my home grown OT and CBT training.

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This is interesting. Growing up, my son always had issues with sensitivity to smells. He would refuse to eat foods, based on their smells. Now he has olfactory hallucinations all the time. They are a huge part of his paranoia and delusions.

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My daughter also sensitivities to sound and light. I would be interested in hearing more about the home grown CBT.

Nothing too elaborate. At the time CBT wasn’t much in vogue. Oddly a friend of mine’s wife was getting training for it, but it was mainly used for anxiety disorders at the time.

I would tell myself that most people were too preoccupied with themselves to worry about me. That I didn’t know for certain various delusions were true. I’d weigh the odds of certain speculative ‘feelings’ I had about situations. Maybe there’d be more rational explanations etc. I’d ask people what they thought about things first, rather than present my possibly less plausible theories.

I’d keep note of my mood when I felt anxious or stressed when I thought I might be hallucinating or delusional. How noisy it was, time of day, which people seemed to set me off, etc. Basically the whole world was a science experiment where I was forever trying to check my work and whether I was coming to the right conclusions, were they repeatable etc. It was exhausting at times, but over time I gained confidence that I knew what was going on, and that people were mostly good and not out to get me or sabotage me. And in the rare circumstances they might be, I would develop strategies to avoid or defuse such situations.

I could be wrong, but I think these are things everyone does unconsciously to a certain degree, I just made a conscious and deliberate effort to reality check most situations as best I could without “blowing my cover”.

Wow, I would be thrilled if my son could ever learn to do this. It could possibly give him a chance at a quality life.

I was lucky that I had training as a scientist and technologist before I became florid. I also took some Philosophy classes in Epistemology and Logic, and some Psych classes including Abnormal Psychology as an undergrad.

These were helpful tools, but in the end my therapist said what pulled me through was insight and objectivity about myself. I was able to turn these tools and methods inward and the experience helps me in my career to be a better troubleshooter and investigator, as colleagues can be too trusting of measurements and methods and sometimes jump to false conclusions as a result.

My mantra to colleagues when their conclusions don’t add up, is to to keep asking: what makes you think that? Not necessarily to question them, but to track their thought processes and get them to think of alternate explanations, or any incorrect assumptions.

Yes, metacognition and insight are critical. Unfortunately, my son has neither, due to the damage this illness has caused to his brain.