PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- After a decade of suffering with a rare hearing disorder, Manuel Pavao saw a glimmer of hope on one of our newscasts. Now we're happy to report that he's found the relief that eluded him for so long.
It's been years since Manuel has been able play the guitar. But in recent weeks, he's re-discovered his old love. And when he starts strumming simple chords, he brings his audience of one to tears.
"I see such a difference in him," says Manuel's wife, Lisa, as she wipes away tears. "Talking, laughing so much more. I caught him singing out loud a couple of times. Things that he just wasn't doing because it was so unenjoyable to him," she says.
Eyewitness News first brought you Manuel's story in May. He had just been diagnosed with a rare hearing condition called Superior Canal Dehiscence. He described the debilitating symptoms; his heartbeat pounding loudly in his head, and eye movements that made scraping sounds like sandpaper on coarse wood. He told us even his own voice and footsteps were deafening.
- Related: Relief for Man with Rare Ear Disorder
- Learn More: What is Superior Canal Dehiscence?
- Learn More: Symptoms of Superior Canal Dehiscence
After years of suffering without answers, Manuel saw a story we aired about a woman in California with the same symptoms.
"I kind of stood in disbelief," says Manuel, "because that's what I've been explaining for the last ten years and to no avail."
Now, armed with new information, Manuel found a doctor who confirmed the new diagnosis. He scheduled a surgery to fix the problem.
"We were walking in," says Manuel, "and that's when it hit home. Wow, this is going to happen. This is going to start a whole new chapter."
The surgery took over three hours. Doctors had to cut through Manuel's skull, and move his brain to reach a tiny hole they had to seal in his inner ear.
When asked if he had second thoughts about undergoing major surgery, Manuel answers, "Not so much second thoughts... with a little bit of faith and hope, I said it's got to be better than what it is now."
When Manuel woke up from anesthesia, the relief was instant.
Manuel says, "The first thing I said to my wife was 'I can't hear my eyes!' When I blink and move, I can't hear that. And I can't hear my heart."
He can't hear those deafening footsteps either, making it much easier to walk hand in hand with his wife into his new chapter.
Manuel has to take it easy for the next few months, but doctors say the surgery should provide a permanent fix to all of his symptoms.
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