Medicine: The Man Who Ticks

People who hear a ringing, hissing or ticking in their own ears are suffering from a fairly common complaint called tinnitis (caused by inflammation of the middle ear, drugs, head injuries, neuroses). Tinnitis is generally "subjective" (only the victim hears the ticking).

Sanky Flynn, 30-year-old textile millworker of Greensboro, N.C., has a rare tinnitis that is "objective": in a quiet room, other people can hear his right ear ticking three feet away;* his left ear also ticks, but not so loudly. Flynn's ears tick every 15 seconds.

Long since used to his odd ailment, Flynn...

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