‘I Felt Like I Was Dying': UCLA Surgery Cures Coach's Rare Hearing Condition

A revolutionary new surgery out of UCLA recently helped a basketball coach regain his hearing - and get ready to head back the court.

Last December, Richard Barron, the women's basketball coach for the University of Maine began to experience a problem known as "super hearing." Everyday sounds, like a chip bag opening or the door clicking, became unbearable to him.

"I felt like I was dying honestly," Barron said. "I would hear the bones in my feet move. If I turned my neck, I would hear it."

Barron was bedridden for months, with no one able to figure out what was wrong.

That was, until doctors at UCLA finally diagnosed him with Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence, a rare condition that causes deafness in one ear, and unwanted super hearing.

Last week, ear surgeon Quinton Gopen and neurosurgeon Isaac Yang, restored Barron's hearing to normal using a cutting-edge technique. Making a small incision behind the cartilage of Barron's ear, they were able to lift his brain and patch up a tiny hole in his ear.

The method, which is only performed at UCLA, is less invasive than other surgeries for the condition, which leave patients with long scars that stretch from their ear to the top of their head.

Barron's recovery was so rapid that he was able to go out eat with his wife the evening after the surgery - a noisy activity he couldn't do when he was suffering from super hearing.

"Now I feel like I've got just this whole world opened up to me it's exciting," Barron said. "I want to use it in a positive way."

Barron's doctors estimate that he will be fully recovered and back coaching in a couple of months.

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