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Bev Austin
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Bev Austin   My Press Releases

Listening to Music Threatened Her Life

Published on 1/11/2017
For additional information  Click Here


Listening to Music Threatened Her Life


Would you agree that music plays an important role in the lives of many people including your own? Acting like a soundtrack, we can all recall past events instantly and all the associated emotions just by listening to the first few bars of a song. Whether it's the first date, a break-up, or that magical trip you took, music tells our unique story and life without it would simply be unimaginable.


If you want to be inspired into action, comforted in times of sadness or energised out of a slump, music will get the job done. As a huge music lover I relish the opportunity to listen to my favourite artists and never tire of how mood transforming music can be. I am truly grateful for the music in my life and would struggle to be without it.


However, this got me thinking of a story I had read in the Guardian newspaper a few years ago. It was the unusual story of Julie Congleton, a woman who had spent most of her life avoiding music because of its potential to trigger a seizure. From the age of 17 Julie began to experience frightening epilepsy episodes whenever she was exposed to music. Just being in earshot was enough to trigger an attack which could ultimately be life threatening. She was later diagnosed as having a condition called Musicogenic epilepsy and advised to steer clear of music to minimize the risk of further attacks. In short, music was her deadly enemy and she had no choice but to give it a wide berth.


Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for Julie to navigate through life? Just think of all the potential danger hot spots in a normal run of the mill day. Music is literally everywhere, on the TV, in a passing car, on the radio, at the movie theatre, in the lobby, at the grocery store, in the car park, at the dentist, on the street....the list goes on. All of these things, you and I take for granted, but for Julie it was a matter of life and death.

Living with a condition like Musicogenic epilepsy not only restricted Julie's life but had such a profound impact on her family and friends, who took on the role as her guardians keeping her away from harm. Marriage and children followed but life was still very much under the cloud of a condition the Medical profession initially seemed sceptical of. Unfortunately, prior to being diagnosed, Julie was labelled as neurotic, which left her feeling very isolated in her despair. Family celebrations such as birthdays and weddings were to be avoided, and Julie’s own wedding day was understandably a very quiet affair.


The turning point for Julie came when she relocated to another part of the country and began treatment at the local hospital. Amazingly she was now under the care of a neurologist who specialized in her condition. At long last Julie was given the news she longed to hear, and it was music to her ears (excuse the pun) she was told that her condition was operable and could be reversed. Today, after successful treatment Julie is able to enjoy the music that she was denied for so many years.


For Julie, the joy of listening to music must be beyond anything you or I could ever imagine. To finally have the freedom to indulge in pleasing audible sounds is a blessing she will never take for granted. Remembering Julie's story has made me really think about all the things I have taken for granted but would struggle to be without, like having the full use of all the senses, sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Not to mention having a voice or listening to a favourite piece of music.

It's true to say, other people’s stories of overcoming teach us to be better people and encourage us to create our own inspiring story.

Bev Austin



I wish you Happiness Health and Wealth!!!



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