Dear Family, friends and community,
My son Joshua is 15 years old. He is a sweet and respectful teenager and loves animals and photography.
At the age of 8 years old, after attending an airshow, Josh began having ear pain when people talked around him. He was later diagnosed with Hyperacusis (A collapsed tolerance to normal environmental sounds).
Over the last 7 years the condition has gotten so severe that Josh lives with chronic pain. He explains that when people talk he hears very painful tapping on his ear drums after every syllable. His ears also experience stabbing pains, rumbling, numbness, popping, static, pressure and nerve pain that radiates down into his chest.
The Hyperacusis has caused Josh to be in a continous state of anxiety. He is currently on medications.
Voices and sudden loud sounds hurt Josh's ears the most (especially children's). He began to avoid kids, including family, because he does not know when to expect sudden screams or crying. Just seeing a child coming causes the muscles around Josh's ears to painfully contract (Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome).
He is so afraid of being near small children that he became about 90% homebound for a year. Trying to get from our apartment to our car was a challenge. Josh had to be pulled out of school and rarely visited family.
With Behavioral therapy and Theraputic Horseback Riding Josh began to go outside again and even returned to his first year of high school. Unfortunately though, Josh's continued stress from exposure to sound has led to a secondary condition called, Depersonalization/derealization Disorder (An anxiety disorder of feeling disconnected from one's body, thoughts, senses, emotions and environment). This secondary condition has been very frightening for Josh and causes daily panic attacks and depression. He often gets so detatched that he feels "unreal" or in a "dream like state". He has missed a trimester of school this year and has just returned to only take one class.
Josh has recently been given the opportunity to go see a leading specialist in Hyperacusis across the United States. He would be given a thorough audiological evaluation and ongoing audiological council. One of the objectives is to have Josh fitted with sound generators in his ears to begin a "Retraining Therapy", enabling him to process sound normally again.
The impact that Hyperacusis has had on Josh's childhood has been overwhelming for him, but he has tried to remain hopeful for a brighter future filled with purpose. To be given a chance of recovery would mean the world to Josh. He has said to me on so many occasions, "I just want to 'live' again".
Joshua and I would be eternally grateful for your prayers and any support or help towards airfare, hotel, medical bills and equipment for his ears, so that he can have this opportunity for a new start in life.
We both thank you so much and pray you will be greatly blessed for your compassion and support.
Desiree and Joshua Papatheodore
- Kevin Prior
- Ronald C. Walsingham
- Colleen Murdock
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