The word is difficult to pronounce, and if you’ve experienced it – you know that it’s so darn annoying. The ongoing hissing and ringing in the head is indescribable. It takes no days off, and seems to trump all other day to day sounds – like the television, the washing machine, or the running car. And it’s every, blasted day.
In this year like no other, it’s become the sour, bitter icing on my cake.
Somehow, some way, it entered my life over the summer and has not left. Tinnitus pays a daily visit in the calm of the morning and escalates in the silence of the night.
Did I mention it’s every day?
A recent audiology test revealed that my hearing is actually OK, but surprisingly, Tinnitus emulates from the brain and not from the inner ear. It could’ve been caused by simply aging. As a proud End-of-the-Baby-Boom Member, it could’ve been brought on by repeated loud noise, like music. Not that I attended a lot of rock concerts, but I was known to crank up the car radio with my friends years ago.
Another cause? Stress, according to the audiology expert. So NOT surprisingly, there has been an uptick in Tinnitus cases in recent months, likely caused by this thing we all know as The 2020 Covid-19 Freight Train of Despair.
What’s the cure? According to the American Tinnitus Association, there is no scientifically proven cure for most cases. Yet, there are some tips and “tricks” to fool the brain into thinking there are more important sounds going on.
Sound therapy – Zen music, white noise and other sounds – like ocean waves crashing – are recommended positive signals to the brain, along with general stress reduction. The only real break I seem to get from Tinnitus is from swimming, as it provides both as a great distraction and as a stress reliever. When one is distracted, it’s not noticed. In the water, there’s that ear-up-to-the-seashell sound from the constant turning of my head while wearing a cap.
It helps, but it’s still there.
Here is hoping that with the start of 2021, the long-awaited Coronavirus vaccine will be headed our way soon and with that, a path toward normalcy. Perhaps if that happens, my tinnitus will eventually be a blip on the radar, just like this terrible year we’ve all experienced.
Brighter days – and sounds – are ahead!!