May 2 2012
I was a pretty young kid when I first noticed the ringing in my ears. It’s a constant sound that I hear and I’ve heard it since I was pretty young (pre-bunk beds, which means since I was in first grade or so). My left ear rings louder than my right, but luckily both ears ring at the same pitch. I would go crazy if the ringing was at two different notes. It’s really high pitched and it’s not a note that I can identify. Sometimes it feels like it’s coming from the middle of my head but aimed at my left ear.
I have noticed that over the past couple of months the ringing has gotten a little louder and a little more noticeable, especially when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. I have to sleep with a fan on to provide white noise to mask the sound of the ringing in my ears or else it feels like the ringing is becoming overpowering as I start to drift off and then I get a little worked up about it. It’s loud enough where it can be distracting in overly quiet situations. Perhaps that’s why Earl has commented on more than one occasion that I have a tendency to fill in blank pauses during a conversation with my own brand of chatter. Perhaps that’s why I say “um” or “em” a lot between words.
I suppose that years of wearing headphones while I was on the radio and listening to music really loud as a club DJ (so I could seamlessly align the beats of dissimilar records) has taken it’s toll on my hearing. I’m saying “say again?” more than I used to. I know some folks find that annoying. I find it annoying. I try not to say it. I read lips more than I used to. I guess it’s part of the aging process.
A few years ago I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist to find out if there was anything that could be done about the ringing in my ears. He told me that there was little that he could do because that kind of thing is usually damage that can not be reversed. He offered to peel back my face and scrape around my sinuses if I wanted to. Apparently he had heard me make a sniffly noise that I didn’t notice. I declined the offer. That just sounded too weird.
I’m hoping that science will perfect that bionic hearing I’ve wanted since I was a kid before my natural hearing ability is completely interrupted by the constant whine in my ears. I’m not expecting a lot, just the ability to hear someone say my name from a half-mile away. The “doo doo doo doo” sound is completely optional.