Silence Is Not So Golden

Living with Tinnitus may not sound like a big deal. But if you could actually hear the inaudible sounds in someone’s head, you’d think silence is not so golden.

Speaking Of Inaudible Sounds

Those with Tinnitus suffer in silence. Normally, mine is a constant ringing of high-pitched tones, two or three of them at least. Often they’re steady in pitch but sometimes they fluctuate up and down like an old-timey radio without a good signal. It’s definitely unnerving.

When all is quiet, that’s when my Tinnitus is loudest; I hear nothing but constant ringing between my ears. But I alone hear it. Sometimes my head can hardly bear it.

Recently, the tones were so loud, it was very hard for me to go back to sleep in the middle of the otherwise quiet night. I can see how worse cases could drive a person crazy. To fend off the rising anxiety, I practiced deep breathing and focused on that rather than my thoughts or the ringing.

The aural pestilence I hear is not any sound out there in the world around me. I know the sounds are all in my head. But they’re not “just in my head.” They’re actually in there, between my ears or in them.

I don’t know how common Tinnitus is, so when I found someone who knows exactly how it feels to suffer from the internal raucous, I was comforted. Suffer in silence, yes. But suffer alone, no, I don’t have to.

Tinnitus Blogging

In the last week I discovered a new-to-me blog, Mother Distracted, where the author puts Tinnitus into words clearly; she knows exactly what it’s like! In fact, something she wrote in one post spoke straight to my experience and affirmed it:

“A spike is where something triggers a rise in the volume and duration of your tinnitus. It can be something like an ambulance siren passing by you on the road, a balloon bursting, a door slamming or someone shouting.”

These “spikes” have happened to me many times! They seem to come from nowhere, but occasionally I can tell what the source was.

Something else in the same post grabbed me. She mentioned that gluten could be a spike. I don’t know if it is, but as a matter of fact, I have Celiac Disease and eat gluten-free. But sometimes cross-contamination with gluten occurs. Maybe there is a link?

Hope Worth Hearing

I don’t know how or why I have Tinnitus. And I know there’s no known cure. All I can do is tolerate it and manage it and avoid silence where possible. I’m able to say that the anxiety induced by it can be managed as well.

Thankfully there are others who acknowledge their Tinnitus and share their experience online for anyone to understand.

Since September is Deaf Awareness Month (or week), and Tinnitus is often associated with deafness, hopefully this post will bring some comfort or understanding to someone else suffering from Tinnitus. You’re not alone.