Simone Collins' Story
By the time I was 14, I had substantial hearing loss (from repeated ear infections and loud music) and tinnitus. After 6 months of Sound Therapy, my tinnitus had completely gone and my hearing was substantially better! Here's my own story - why I now work as a Sound Therapy consultant.
My early love for music - particularly playing the electronic organ - led to hearing loss and tinnitus by the time I was 14.
As a child, repeated ear infections saw me lose 10% of my hearing during my primary school years. When I was 7 years old, the annual ear and eye checks carried out at primary school picked up my poor hearing. Several children had to sit in the front row because of their poor eye sight, but I was the only one who had to sit at the front of the classroom so I could hear the teacher properly.
Listening to Music Constantly - I love it loud!
I developed a love of music from my father, who was always playing the piano and organ at home. I started piano lessons when I was 6 years old and added electronic organ lessons when I was 8. I loved playing the organ, and particularly enjoyed perfoming at festivals and concerts. Music was a constant part of my life - if I wasn't playing it myself, I was listening to a tape or the radio.
Practising with the organ turned right up loud (despite repeated protests from my mother that I would damage my hearing if I didn't turn it down) and listening to loud rock music on my walkman meant that I had sustained noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus by the time I was 14 years old. My family complained that I was deaf. I thought that they were joking, but they were quite serious.
I found sometimes that while I could hear, it would take a while to process what I had heard. I'd often ask someone to repeat what they had just said, only to realise shortly after they started repeating themselves that I had in fact heard (and understood) what they'd said.
I avoided using a telephone as much as possible, as I had trouble hearing on it - to some extent I had taken up lip reading. But I was in denial about my hearing, despite being told at age 16 when I was the guinea pig in an otoacoustics session at a science summer school that my ear was not responding to some frequencies at all, and that I had the worst hearing that the uni student facilitating the session had seen.
Facing the Music - What the Audiologists said
I had wanted to pursue a career in music, but my parents wouldn't hear of it, so I studied science - first physics, then IT and maths. When I went for my first job in IT when I was 20 years old, I had to have full medical, which included a hearing test.
When the test was concluded, the audiologist came to me and explained to me again that whenever I heard a sound, I was supposed to press the red button.
"Yes," I replied, "I know."
She asked, "Shall we do the test again?"
"No." It wouldn't change anything. I had understood the instructions the first time around - I honestly hadn't heard most of the sounds.
While my results were rather bad, she reassured me that it shouldn't affect getting the job I was going for.
I took the results to my father, a GP, and asked him if I needed to do anything about it. He referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist.
The ENT specialist repeated the hearing test, and declared that I had noise-induced hearing loss (I could have told him that without the tests!). My hearing was that of a 50 year old. He said there was nothing that could be done, and that I needed to avoid making my hearing any worse than it already was. Absolutely no more loud music.
Listening to Music Constantly... this time the right sort!
Having believed for 6 years that there was nothing that could be done to reverse my hearing loss, I was quite excited when I stumbled across the book "Sound Therapy: Music to recharge your brain" in a bookstore in 2003, when I was 26, and read that perhaps my hearing damage and tinnitus weren't permanent after all! What particularly attracted me to Sound Therapy was that its underpinning methods were created by another Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who had received many accolades for his ground-breaking research in how the auditory system develops and works.
I sent off for the Sound Therapy program, and within just 2 days of starting I noticed that I didn't need as much sleep anymore - I just didn't feel tired! That was a blessed relief, as I had suffered from insomnia for years, and usually tossed and turned in bed for several hours before finally getting off to sleep, and would usually wake several times during the night before getting up in the morning feeling exhausted. No more! With Sound Therapy, I was going to bed late, going straight to sleep, and waking up feeling refreshed.
I also found that if I answered the phone while listening to Sound Therapy (using bud earphones), I could concentrate on the conversation and hear (and process!) what was being said much better.
My hearing noticeably improved in the first few months. I found I kept having to turn the volume down on my walkman, not because I'd bumped the volume control, but because what used to be soft to me soon sounded very loud!
The Healing Crisis - My Tinnitus got worse before it got better
From Day 1 I found it easy to get my listening done - I had Sound Therapy going nearly every waking hour. I put it on before I started preparing breakfast, and had it on the bulk of the day, stopping only to shower and go to bed.
While my sleep and hearing quickly showed substantial improvement, after a few weeks my tinnitus started getting worse! Initially I had constant tinnitus in my left ear, but it didn't bother me all that much - I was just aware it was always there. But after a while, the volume of my tinnitus increased, I had some additional tones kick in in the left year and my right ear started ringing as well! It started driving me crazy - at times it was very hard to concentrate with all that noise!
I persevered with listening to Sound Therapy, though I cut back on the number of hours per day. My tinnitus was very distracting for around 2 weeks, and then it started improving. It returned to the level it was initially, and then it got quieter and quieter. One day, about 6 months after I started, I suddenly realised that there was complete silence. There was no noise in my ears anymore, and hadn't been for some time! It was bliss!
It took around 2,000 hours for my tinnitus to completely disappear. Once my tinnitus started improving, I increased my listening to all day every day again. I found it really helped me through my day to listen to Sound Therapy constantly.
It Worked! More people should know about this!
I was so impressed with my own success with Sound Therapy, the successes reported by others all over the world, and the research that has been conducted since the 1950s (particularly important to me with my own scientific background) that I decided to change my career.
I completed the training to become a Sound Therapy consultant in person with Rafaele Joudry in late 2003, and completed the advanced training course by correspondence. I have been working with Sound Therapy since then. I became the primary contact for Sound Therapy in Western Australia in 2006, and with the launch of this site in early 2007 I now work with clients across Australia and around the world as well.
I embarked on other natural medicine studies in 2004. I qualified as a reflexologist in 2005, completed my Certificate IV in Massage Therapy Practice in 2009, and was initiated into the 2nd degree of the Usui system of Reiki in 2010. I also have grounding in flower essences and nutrition, and have used that on occasion in conjunction with Sound Therapy to great success.
In 2011 I qualified as an audiometric officer, and can conduct hearing tests to WA's Noise Induced Hearing Loss legislation standards.
The Next Generation of listeners
Even at 8 months, Eva enjoyed short stints of listening to "mummy's music".
Now I have two young daughters, Ariana (6) and Eva (5), and they love "mummy's music". I used Sound Therapy in the latter part of both pregnancies. I was very relaxed, and both my girls were quiet, placid babies with incredible head control from birth. I have often received compliments from complete strangers when we go out about how well behaved they are and how articulate and advanced they are with their speech/communication, and they both have a very strong bond with me.
Ariana asks for Sound Therapy whenever she isn't feeling well or is feeling sad, and after listening to it for a little while she declares that she is much better. She has been extremely musical from day one, completely stunning us with her ability to tap along perfectly in time to music from 5 months.
Sound Therapy has been a blessing when little Eva gets overstimulated - switching on Sound Therapy through an ipillow very quickly turns a screaming, thrashing toddler into a quiet little soul who happily lies down and drifts off to sleep.
I encourage their listening as a preventative measure. So far neither have had any ear infections, and they are streets ahead with speaking and language skills (in both english and spanish!). And they both ask for the TV or stereo to be turned down if its too loud!
I highly, highly recommend Sound Therapy for all ages - it truly works!