How I regained my hearing - letter to the editor
from Lena Nilsson, Stockholm
Thank you for your articles!
When I read about nose cleansing and the headstand, I felt like sharing with your readers, how I regained my hearing, through precisely these techniques.
I had had reduced hearing in the right ear since I was small. Doctors had told me it was probably because I often suffered from inflammation of the middle ear. The reduction of my hearing hadn't bothered me. The only time I had been aware of it was just before going to sleep. Then, I always chose to lie on my right side, so that I could experience all the sounds of the night. People around me hadn't noticed, even though I had probably played unusually loud music and been more boisterous and loud than the average Swede.
But imagine my surprise, when after the 3-month retreat at Håå Retreat Center, at the age of 26, I had a hearing test, and was told that I had perfectly normal hearing in both ears. Afterwards, I offended the nurse by making sure that there was nothing wrong with the testing apparatus.
I realised that this was just one of the many positive effects that the 3-month retreat had on my life. What I couldn't know was which of the yoga practises I had learned had helped my hearing. During the 3-month retreat, one learns a whole spectrum of yoga, breathing exercises and meditation techniques.
Unfortunately, my new hearing didn't last. Gradually, my hearing became severely reduced, and after seven years I could hardly hear at all. Since I was also suffering from severe sinusitis during this period, my doctor didn't want to draw any hasty conclusions. My hearing loss could be caused by liquid in the ear, low pressure or swelling. The poor test results continued and indicated an unusual fault, which, according to the doctors, was caused by calcification in the middle ear.
My doctor, however, didn't want to make a definite diagnosis and sent me to the hospital. He said that reduced hearing of this type could fortunately be remedied with a hearing aid, and that eventually, an operation could be performed.
As singing is my main occupation, I wondered a lot about my future as a singer. As yet, my teachers had said nothing, so I accepted the facts and carried on regardless.
Mira, at the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School in Stockholm, had advised me to cleanse my nose, as my sinusitis hadn't improved despite sluicing and penicillin treatment. I already practised Neti, but somewhat lethargically. Now, I intensified the nose cleansing - more water and more often. I am in the habit of standing on my head after Neti, followed by the breathing exercise, "The Blacksmith's Bellows". As my doctor had advised me to blow air up into the ear to raise the pressure, I continued doing that also.
One morning, not long after receiving the hospital referral, while I was standing on the head, the right ear opened up. It was as if the whole world had opened for me and never before had I heard so well.
Once again, however, my hearing declined. After about half a year, I had another hearing test, and the results were very poor. I applied for new tests. While I waited, I practised nose cleansing and headstand and blew air up into the ear. I had connected my regained hearing with these exercises, and believed that if I'd regained it twice with their help, then I could recover it again.
I succeeded! The effect remained till the examination, and when I had the preliminary hearing test I was informed that I had good hearing in the right ear. They could merely note the facts, while I was quite speechless.
A year has now passed since the examination, and I have succeeded in maintaining my good hearing by nose cleansing, the headstand and blowing air up inside the ear after the Blacksmith's Bellows. If I neglect my practice, my hearing gets worse and its as if a lid covers the ear. Usually, it disappears when I do the exercises. It is insufficient to blow air up, and more often than not this procedure is unnecessary, especially if I use double my usual amount of water during Neti.
My regained hearing affects me very strongly. I experience myself as participating more in my surroundings, and my singing has changed. I, who couldn't sing "dolce" - really softly, can now vary my singing more and more and find a softness in my voice, that earlier was not there.