A Minnesota woman has a rare ear disorder that leaves her extremely dizzy and causes her to hear sounds coming from inside her body.
Stephanie Schmitz from Maple Grove in Minnesota has what is now called superior canal dysfunction syndrome. This means that her ear canals are damaged. However, the location of the hole in Schmitz’s ear canal is on her posterior canal, making her condition more complex.
“You’re not used to hearing people that hear their eyeballs move and hear their eyes blink and hear their neck creak … or they can hear their footsteps in their ear, they hear their heartbeat,” Schmitz told Fox 9 News.
It has had a negative impact on her daily life. Schmitz and her loved ones take special precautions to accommodate her. The house remains as quiet and peaceful as possible. The dishwasher runs at night, and cabinet doors shut gently. The simplest sounds can cause her to become dizzy or even make her sick.
“Sounds will make me dizzy. Sometimes it’s people’s voices. Sometimes it’s a fire truck driving by. It can be the simplest thing. I can barely stand to hear my son laugh, and I think that’s what’s really hard for me because that’s what my life is — taking care of him,”Schmitz spoke to the local news station.
Schmitz’s 9-year-old son, Jaxon, understands that he can not ask her to go places, like the skateboard competitions he competes in, because she can not handle the noise.
“My mom just got so many fun things taken away from her,”Jaxon shared his experience with Fox 9 News. “(But) I would rather not do something fun and just make her sit home and rest cause I know how hard it is.”
Over the past seven years since she first started getting randomly dizzy, her condition stumped doctors. Schmitz was forced to adjust to her condition by switching jobs and relying on earplugs.
“I truly remember being on my knees and praying like, ‘please help me figure out an answer. I can’t live like this forever,’”Fox 9 News reported that she had said this.
“It breaks my heart,”Lee Anderson was her boyfriend. “Any kind of gatherings — holidays, Christmas any kind of things with families — we obviously limit our exposure to all the noise,” he told Fox 9 News.
Schmitz’s only option is out-of-state surgery, which she would have to pay tens of thousands out of pocket. There is no guarantee that the operation would work and she would risk possibly going deaf, according to Fox 9 News.
On top of this condition, Schmitz battled and defeated thyroid cancer last year. “People often say to me that I would do it 10 times more than before I want to live another day like this.” Schmitz told Fox 9 News.
Until she finds treatment and relief, Schmitz spends time with people she loves when she feels well enough to do so.
To raise awareness and funds for Schmitz’s condition, Anderson set up a .