The ringing in my ears

Or, more accurately, the rushing/roaring/oceanic whooshing in my ears.

I’ve mentioned my tinnitus before; last week, in the throes of concern over Eden’s health, my tinnitus suddenly and inexplicably worsened and became a louder, 24/7 ordeal. (Previously, the sounds only afflicted me at night, right before falling asleep.) I’ll admit that it’s kept me in a state of panic and barely regulated madness. To have auditory hallucinations all day long, with no relief? It does actually drive people crazy, and I foresee it causing me to lose my mind.

There is no cure for tinnitus and little explanation for why it afflicts some people and not others. It will probably not get better; it will probably continue to get worse as I age, until my hearing is severely affected. Even now, I have trouble hearing whispers, because the roaring drowns everything out. Falling asleep is a fitful struggle.

I went to an ENT about it when the ringing/roaring first started, two years ago, and he was spectacularly unhelpful. I am loath to go again, just to hear another doctor say, “Yep, sorry, nothing we can do for you. You have to learn how to live with it.”

The best advice tinnitus sufferers give each other on the internet is to try not to think about it. That is hard. It is very hard, when the noises never leave you.

I am trying to derive some poetry from it. A tinnitus sufferer wrote online that tinnitus creates a vicious cycle with mental disorder; anxiety or depression can cause tinnitus, and having tinnitus can cause anxiety or depression. This, of course, is not happy poetry, but it makes sense to me. A German pianist on the internet said that his lifelong tinnitus has just made him think that he has the best hearing in the world, that he can actually hear his body working! Glory! (Tinnitus is often synchronized with one’s heartbeat, as mine seems to be.) That’s a rosy thought. If I had a choice, I’d rather not hear my body working all of the time, but perhaps this is my new fate: to be doomed to know my body too intimately.