It sounds as if this woman has tinnitus. Tinnitus is the subjective appreciation of a noise in the absence of sound. Recent work suggests that tinnitus has little to do with the ears( unless there has been obvious trauma/infection or degenerative changes etc which would show oon testing) and is more commonly related to the auditory perception area of the brain.
I did some clinical work with 5 tinnitus patients who all made great progress and in order to see how useful hypnosis might be I carried out some unpublished research last year on tinnitus using a standardised tape recording. There were 21 people who completed the crossover programme and seven received benefit. I have not written it up as the numbers are small. Each participant tok part in the Creative Imagination Scale and also filled in a Attributional Scale Questionaire (ASQ) as per Martin Seligman. Essentially the findings were that the more hypnotisable the person was the better the chance of response. Response was not rapid and simply by listening to the tape first responses began after 35 days. Passimistists stopped listening to the tapes and the people who benefited most were optimists with high hypnotisability. Younger people responded better than older.
The actual hypnosis had two sides.
Side one is a basic progressive relaxation. -no demands are made of the person.
Side two is a variety of metaphors about not noticing e.g the trains after living near a railway line; not noticing touch, tastes etc.
I would avoid hunting for causation at the time of the oiperation. This could easily provoke a false memory and could leave her feeling helpless.
Feel free to discuss with me off-line.
Dr. Pat McCarthy Wellington New Zealand
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