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Snakes in my head.   —   Health

For the last few months I've been hearing a ringing in my ears. I first noticed it after spending the evening at a dance club wherein I caught myself on more than one occasion dancing in front of one of those giant 7 foot speakers as it blared 80's hits and I danced crazily to Pat Benatar and Billy Idol. Sometimes you just get so caught up, and there's just so many people gyrating next to you (and into you), that you pay less attention to where you are and more attention to keeping the strange creepy men (and women!) at bay. When I went home that night my ears were ringing, as they are wont to do after an evening of loud music (why is it I've always dated musicians?) and I went to sleep confident that the ringing would subside with the coming of dawn. And it did subside, but it did not go away, not entirely. I guess I didn't notice it right away, it's more a low hissing than an actual ringing, but when I did start to notice it I never stopped.

I waited a few months before making an appointment with an ear doctor. Part of me thought it would just go away, the other part of me just didn't want to make the trip to the doctor. But after two months of wondering when I would finally have silence, I made the call. Turns out I have tinnitus. A very nice man in a sweater vest gave me a hearing test and apparently I have lost the part of my hearing that is able to hear the highest possible pitch. He says that when something like that happens your brain sends feedback in the form of a perceived sound, in my case it's a low hissing. The doctors say that I'm lucky, that most people with tinnitus hear a fairly loud ringing that often times prevents them from sleeping. There are varying degrees of pitch and loudness, different tones and keys, whatever you want to call it all. Frankly, I just call it insanity. Who knew that millions of people suffered from this? After calling my mother I discovered that she too is part of the unfortunate lot and has had tinnitus since her 20's. She suffered from severe migraines for years and it turns out that all the aspirin she took to quell her aching head, gave her a ringing in her ears. Kind of a double standard that aspirin has, don't you think? I was always aware that my mother loves to play soft background music, usually some kind of Native American flute music, sometimes low chanting and drum music, I just never knew she did it so that she wouldn't hear that damned ringing that constantly served as her personal soundtrack to life.

Sometimes I forget that low hissing is playing in my ears. But when I catch a glimmer of its even unwavering melody, I can't NOT hear it. There are brief moments when I think I'm going mad. I cover my ears with my hands but to no avail, it's in my head, it's in my head, it's in my head.

Posted 7.2.2009 3:09:01 PM

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