Wolfgang Reip is forced to interrupt his career as a GT driver and bid farewell to the racing world as a driver, being seriously ill.
The news given by the Belgian himself with a long message published on his social networks is one to make you shiver.
Reip, who recently raced in the GT World Challenge with Bentley and Nissan, was diagnosed with a very severe form of hyperacusis, to which was also added an annoying tinnitus.
These are two hearing disorders: in the case of the first, the brain is no longer able to perceive and process the volumes of any sound and this causes excruciating pain as there is an exponential increase in auditory sensitivity.
This pathology is also often accompanied by tinnitus, which is a disorder that occurs with a sort of perennial ringing or buzzing in the ear.
Reip also wanted to make his situation known to raise awareness of research, given that these are rare and little-known diseases for which remedies are almost minimal.
# 8 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3: Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet, Wolfgang Reip
Photo by: Vision Sport Agency
“I am disabled. This is the first time I have decided to talk about it publicly, also to launch a timely fundraiser. When we think of disability, we think of a missing limb, or paralysis induced by neurological disorders by accident or illness. Mine is not. you can see it, yet it is extremely debilitating and has transformed my life, “writes Reip, who then explains his immense suffering in detail.
“Here is a short, but not exhaustive, list of what I can no longer do: take public transport, go to bars, have parties, spend a normal evening with friends, listen to music, watch a film or video with the audio. Showering, cooking and shopping without protection “.
“Spending a day in the city, in addition to everything that is directly or indirectly related to real and virtual motorsport (I have not set foot on a circuit for 2 years, whether it is karting or car), simply driving the car for a few hours on the road , walking in a park without potentially being attacked from all sides, chatting in a normal voice without whispering, working except remotely and without voice meetings, and so on “.
“What is it? Well, I suffer from severe hyperacusis and disabling tinnitus following several sound trauma during my racing career. The first problem occurred in 2014, but it was mild and I continued to have a life. normal, and to compete, but then it got worse and worse “.
“For 2 years it has been a situation in free fall. It is a rare and little known disease, hence the lack of funds and research on it. In practice, it is the brain that is out of order and no longer processes sounds correctly: it creates inflammation in the ear and adjacent nerves. It’s a complex problem because different areas of the brain are involved. “
“It is not clear whether there is damage to the ear or not. The result is that every sound hurts the ears, literally. I know it’s hard to imagine, but it is. If someone talks to me in a normal volume for a little bit, I find myself in a really unpleasant situation for my body and ears start to burn. And the more they burn, the lower the tolerance level. “
“With sudden high-frequency sounds it’s even worse, think of all the noises of washing dishes, or the banging of something falling, etc. Depending on the intensity, these sounds can permanently worsen my case.”
“And on top of that, I have very strong tinnitus, not the kind you only hear when there is silence. You can’t mask it and it increases when I expose myself to the sound (whatever it is).”
“Science has only been interested in the subject for a few years. Historically, severe hyperacusics were taken for crazy or phobic, so they were exposed to noise so that they would no longer be afraid, only to have the exact opposite effect. . This view is still very much present among otolaryngologists and audiologists, but recent studies show that it has nothing to do with it. “
Wolfgang Reip, Bentley Official driver
Photo by: Vision Sport Agency
Reip therefore wanted to launch the fundraiser for ‘Hyperacusis Research Limited’, which deals with his problem and all those who suffer from it.
“I am launching this collection to support research and because, I hope with confidence, that within 10-15 years (but I hope even sooner) we will have understood how to treat this pathology effectively and comprehensively. Beyond the pathology itself, it has a huge psychological impact since basically most of the things that make life worth living are no longer possible. We are more than a shadow of what we used to be. “
“There is a very simple means of prevention: protecting the ears. Once they are damaged, there is no going back. While for most people it is a matter of losing some hearing, there are other cases where you it can lead to tinnitus or tinnitus with a slight hyperacusis. But there is also a minority, which includes my case, whose situation is truly dramatic “.
“I do not wish this to anyone, but no one is sure of what they are facing and we do not know the cases, so it is always good to intervene before it is too late”.
Hyperacusis Research Limited is dedicated to improving the quality of life of patients suffering from hyperacusis and related disorders. It aims to facilitate and support biomedical research that will lead to new and effective therapies for the treatment of hyperacusis “.
“Its activities are based on the belief that collaboration between disciplines is essential for a better understanding of hyperacusis and for the development of effective treatments. Through its grant program, Hyperacusis Research supports innovative research projects across borders. and disciplines. Any donation is welcome, we support research! “
To support the activities of Hyperacusis Research Limited, Reip has opened an online subscription on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/donate/4993540040713478/3163104973961332/).
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