13 years of hell is the number of years I have lived with hyperacusis and two tinnitus symptoms that appeared in 2006, when I was 50. At the beginning, following a burn out, I didn’t understand what was happening to me, all these decibels that were assaulting me, attacking me, torturing me relentlessly, but the reality was there, I couldn’t stand any noise, even the sound of my own voice, and even less the song of a bird.
So began the long road of consultations with ENT specialists, otoneurological assessments and imaging. The conclusion is without appeal, nobody is able to give me an explanation on the dysfunction of hyperacusis; its origin, its mechanism, its cure, the only track being able to bring me a little well being is then a prescription of antidepressants, anxiolytics, sleeping pills and a stop of disease.
Slowly, I let myself slide until I hit rock bottom: I made a cross on the job I loved, I mourned my social, cultural and sports life, the mourning of my family life. After several years of malaise, I ended up adapting my daily life to come back to the surface: consultations with therapists, relaxation, meditation and reading, the latter being for me the only way to escape, to get out of my golden prison. I live between the four walls of my big house and the four walls of my big garden, which I take care to cultivate in order to find peace.
I no longer dare to go out for fear of being caught by the decibels that I cannot manage and that fall on you like a tidal wave that takes you from behind without having seen it coming: the feeling of being swallowed up by the violence of the decibels and by the incomprehension of the world around you. Fears, anxieties, phobias, panic attacks, such is my daily life as soon as I walk in the door.
Then, a miracle happens, a friend gives me a press article published in an alternative medicine magazine attesting to the healing of a young hyperacousic thirty-year-old from Belgium.
My blood ran cold, could it be possible to cure him? Yes, in La Rochelle with Mrs Natacha Chetritt-Bonneyrat at her Institute. I discovered the Hearing Institute of Resources website, I drank every word. Could it be that the number 13 brings luck? I read and reread, my decision is made, I go for it. I pick up the phone, Mr Bonneyrat welcomes me with a lot of empathy and understanding, answers my last questions, the appointment is made for the assessment and to fix the calendar for the 3 sessions of the protocol dedicated to hyperacusis. I am looking for a place to rent outside La Rochelle, because here again it is a problem, to find peace and quiet, to escape the city centre and feel safe. I find a small house, I book the 3 periods, the loop is closed, “ya pu qu’à…”.
In 4 hours with Natacha, I will learn much more than in these 13 years of wandering, Natacha is a gold mine of knowledge, I feel listened to and understood, everything becomes clear and limpid for me, I am ready. The different measurements are taken, hyperacusis, tinnitus, hearing loss, Natacha puts her finger on the possible origin of all this expressed auditory discomfort and explains to me that this emotional part will be worked on by different techniques, tools and working methods, by appointment with her at each session.
I start my first session in September 2019, Natacha makes me work, I move forward and the horizon clears, the impression of pruning this path which was cluttered, the light starts to appear. I carry out my sessions with a lot of motivation, with the pleasure of listening to the soundtracks, with no anxiety, the sessions always end with a benevolent exchange on the part of Mr Bonneyrat. I exchange with other people in therapy, a friendship is created and remains today very present.
From session to session, the progress is measurable as much by the measuring tools as by the reality which becomes again more tolerable, more familiar with decibels, I relearn to live and to go out of my house, I discover a new world, Natacha equips me with hearing aids to compensate for the loss of hearing, an additional comfort. It took me 4 sessions with a 6 month break, I finished in June 2020 victorious in knowing that I can approach the outside world with repaired ears and with tinnitus that has disappeared, that I will have to continue to be persevering and have the soul of a warrior, not giving up.
But the story is not over, my phobias are catching up with me, the decibels are scaring me, I don’t dare throw myself into the deep end, I feel like I’m going backwards, like I’m going through the storm again. All that work with Natacha to get to this point, no! I took my courage in both hands and decided to start a cognitive and behavioural therapy to get rid of this state of panic, it took me 8 months to regain my self-confidence. At the same time, I notice that my ears continue to evolve over the last 2 years 2020/2022, I finally reach my comfort zone which allows me to forget the ambient decibels whatever the situation and I can finally talk about healing and shout Victory.
Without Natasha’s professionalism, without Mr Bonneyrat’s benevolence, without the Øreblue method, without all these work sessions and exchanges, without this mutual trust, this path would not have been possible. A huge thank you to both of you and all my gratitude for this journey.