Is it me, or is there a constant ringing in here?

I mustn’t forget to mention my tinnitus.  That constant “ringing” in my ears — which is usually more of a high-pitched whine, like a mean-ass mosquito on steroids — has been with me ever since I was a teenager.

It used to drive me NUTS when I was in high school. I couldn’t get away from it. I distinctly remember standing in my bedroom around freshman year, staring at my alarm clock, trying to get my mind off that ringing-whining-high-pitched-humming. I tried putting my hands over my ears. That only made it louder. I tried plugging up my ears with my fingers. That made it louder still. I tried humming and holding my breath. Nothing worked.

I thought for sure I was going to lose my mind… But eventually I just gave up fighting it and decided to ignore it. Listen to what else was going on around me.

That actually helped. If I reminded myself that the ringing was in the background and I didn’t need to pay attention to it, I was able to think about other things. Distract myself. Pay no attention to it. What else could I do? It wasn’t going away. It was always there.

I thought for the longest time that I had caused it by listening to loud music too much. What loud music? I didn’t even have my own stereo with headphones until I was a senior in high school, and then I didn’t listen to much music other than Neil Young, which isn’t all that loud. I did play the radio loud in the car and I turned up my clock radio, but logistically there was no way that I was subjecting my ears to tremendously loud sounds.

The whole tinnitus thing has baffled me for a long time, until I realized that it can be caused by head injury. Hallelujah! I mean, not as in Thank God, but as in, I’m not crazy, and I’m not the only one.

I’ve tried many, many things over the years to stop the ringing, all to no avail. So, I made peace with it, and I put it to good use. Now, I use the ringing as a barometer for how I’m doing. The louder the ringing, the better the chance that I’m over-tired or stressed or fighting off an infection of some kind. When my sinuses are acting up, I can have more ringing, but it’s usually fatigue and stress and an over-taxed system that sets me off.

So, when the ringing gets to be too loud to bear, I take myself to bed. Or take a break. Or just stop doing all the busy work I’ve been using to get my mind off the fact that I’m exhausted, and I’m not doing well.

About these ads

3 thoughts on “Is it me, or is there a constant ringing in here?

  1. Very good input!
    I feel the same way. My tinnitus started all of the sudden, roughly 5 years ago. Lost 85% hearing in that ear too…major bummer. But in the grand scheme of things, I can still hear and also use that ring as a barometer just like you have mentioned. Thanks for writing about it!
    Best,
    Dave

  2. Yes me too
    I’m suffering from tinnitus about 6 years until now it drove me crazy.
    I struggled a lot I even cried, felt exhausted and punished for life.
    In my case exposure to loud music damaged my ear.
    I always paid attention to not abuse my ears but when it happens it’s like you have never realized what the silence was like.
    Thanks for your blog – at least I can use the tinnitus for something positive now – a”barometer”.
    What instead of sport and avoiding silence we can do?

  3. You know, I’m not sure what to do. I haven’t been able to figure anything out. I think for me the thing that helped me most was learning to “listen past” the ringing — to pay attention to other things beyond my own head, so the ringing didn’t drive me crazy. My ears are ringing pretty loudly, right now. I haven’t been sleeping, and I’m worried about my job… so I haven’t been resting as much as I should. Well, the ringing keeps me honest, I suppose ;)

Talk about this - No email is required

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s