Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ringing In My Ear

By Douglas V. Gibbs

My left ear rings 24/7, and it rings very loudly. The ringing began after a head trauma I suffered in 1985. At first the ringing drove me nuts. It literally was driving me to levels of insane I really had no intention of visiting. My neurologist indicated that the ringing was the result of nerve damage that could not be repaired, and for the kind of ringing in my ear there was no remedy. Medicines were tried, and failed. A surgery was tried, giving me a little of my hearing back (very little), but the ringing remained. Sometimes it was louder than other times, but it was always ringing, and it was always loud.

Faced with a problem I could not resolve, I realized this was one of those rare moments in life where I would just have to live with whatever was making me uncomfortable. I lived my life trying to figure out how to stop the ringing, or ignore it. I couldn't sleep, for the ringing kept me up at night. I had trouble working because the ringing made it hard to focus on my duties.

The ringing was especially loud when I remembered it was there, and thought about how much I hated that damn ringing in my ear.

One day I didn't hear it, until I realized I didn't hear it.

As long as I kept myself busy enough that I didn't have time to focus on the ringing, the ringing was gone. I was still there, but I learned to ignore it. My mind didn't have time to worry about the ringing when I kept it calculating, writing, working, and studying. I even went to bed cramming my brain with thoughts and ideas. Eventually, I learned to fall asleep that way, thinking about things.

Eventually, the ringing became nothing more than an occasional minor irritation.

The only time I really hear it now is when I acknowledge its existence. . . like right now.

Perhaps, in a sense, that is it. It only exists when I let it exist.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary


Tom said...

The ringing in both my ears is very slowly reducing in intensity. I'm in the last week of a 4 week steroid treatment and it seems to be helping.

You're right that you can distract your self from the effects by focusing on other things. When I work now, I have music in on.. just some light stuff, and I don't notice the ringing when I'm concentrating on the work.

I do, however, understand now how this can be a disabling condition for some people, and how might dominate a life. If it's intense all the time without relief, you could go crazy from never again having a moment of real silence. That's what has bothered me the most, I think. I cannot just sit in a place with no noise and relax.

I never knew how bad tinnitus could be mentally. It's like a Chinese water torture of drip drip drip, and once you realize you are stuck with it, sanity might be the next thing to go.

Hopefully I'll continue to improve. The neurologist has no idea what's causing it or how it happened, since I had no injury like you did. It just started one day out of the blue.

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

I pray yours continues to improve. I wish what I have gone through over the last 27 years on nobody. I can be maddening at times.