I’d been clogged for days. A cold, I thought. Nasally congested. A little sinus trouble. It affected the hearing in my good ear, as if I had fluid pressure on my eardrum. I told myself, “Ahhh, it’ll pass.” Drank some warm water, chased it with Theraflu. Crawled back in bed.
That was Thursday. (It’s Sunday as I write this.) On Friday I woke up late in the morning with a low ringing in my ear. No biggie: this had happened to me before. Four or five minutes, as soon as I move around, it’ll be gone. I went to the bathroom to take a piss, crawled back in bed, picked up the novel I’d been reading the previous night, and read some more. It was ten minutes before I realized it hadn’t stopped yet.
It’s Sunday. The ringing still won’t stop.
The house is pretty quiet. I’ve been especially conspicuous about the lack of noise around me, except what I hear inside my head. I’ve also noticed I’m not hearing as well as I should. I’m in the front room downstairs, but I can’t really hear the traffic pass outside. It rained last night, so tires on slick roads should be easy to hear.
In my left ear, where I’m obstinsively deaf, the noise is there but easily ignorable. In my right ear, the one I rely on for communication, the noise is an extremely high-pitched, incessant, implactable and constant whine. It blares like the Emergency Broadcast System turned up to such a high-pitch it’s just above the threshold of auditory awareness.
It won’t stop.
Okay, when I’m in the shower, it stops. And when I cut on the bathroom sink, it’s still there, but drowned in the gushing water. When I move in close to the faucet, all I hear is water. When I step back, there’s a moment of numbness, and then the whine starts up again in earnest. I can’t hang out in the bathroom forever. I’ve been picking up the phone a lot and not dialing anyone, just listening to the dial tone.
Nights are the worst. All I do is catnap since I can’t sleep for the ringing. I haven’t left the house since Friday afternoon; I may venture out today.
Information I screen on-line about tinnitis is severely depressing. My mouth falls open as I read about people suffering from this for 10, 20 YEARS, the nerve-wracking suffering, the indifference of doctors. There’s treatments, but no definitive cures, no real understanding of what causes it… Wait – Capt. Kirk has tinnitis and HE can’t get rid of it? A lot of these “treatments” sound like poppycock. Acupuncture? Magnetism? Gilko Balboa? Christ, I want superdrugs or surgery.
I read up the causes of tinnitis and groan when I see how many apply to me. Loud noises? Stress? Terrific.
Of course I’m under stress: I’m unemployed. Not only am I wondering how I can afford medical treatment for this, I’m worried I may have a permanent whine in my ear and how’s THAT gonna help me get a job?
I’d been blaring MP3s on my headphone set a lot lately: lots of R&B, hip-hop, plenty of bass. I even fell asleep sometimes with my headset on. Did that do it?
I’d been downing a lot of over-the-counter medications: Theraflu, Alka-Seltzer Cold Gels, CVS ibuprofen capsules. Some of this stuff I haven’t used before. Did that do something adverse to me?
I thought about my diet: nothing out of the ordinary… although I did cut back on dairy products as a precaution.
All I know is LAST Sunday I could hear fine, and I had no ringing in my ears. Then suddenly, out of the blue, this.
Tomorrow I hope to see an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist, hope the hell s/he can do something to stop this. I want a cure, a fix, something to get me back to normal.
Because it HAS to stop.