Got Tinnitus? I Hear Ya!

Yes, the hand next to your ear is totally going to work…

Pardon me? “We’re landing on my roof”? I’m sorry, I think I misunderstood you. I’m afraid I have trouble hearing. That’s why I’m standing here alone in the corner of this cocktail party. Ha-ha! I bet you thought I was some kind of loser with no social skills. No, no, I’m some kind of loser with no social skills and a hearing problem!

You see, to me the sound of all those people talking is just a big roar that makes it impossible to isolate conversations. Plus, there’s either a fan rumbling somewhere or they’ve hired a quartet of Mongolian throat singers – I really don’t know the hosts that well, so hard to say. Also, I was eating celery which is crunchy in my head.

All in all, better to stand off by myself than try to follow along, nodding like an idiot and saying, “Yes, yes.” That’s already how my French conversations go.

But even if there’s no one around (which in my case is the norm), I still have a hard time picking out words because I also have tinnitus and there’s always a constant ringing in my ears and, honest to God, actors on television these days are all mumblers, don’t you agree?

What’s that? “Where’s Stefan Montouth?” No idea who that is. Actually, I don’t know anyone here. I just got the email at work saying I was invited and that there’d be sweet-and-sour nibbles. Now, you see, if someone were to say that to me out loud, I’d probably hear “sweet-and-sour nipples,” but that’s a whole other party. Ha-ha! Ha-ha! But I’d still go.

I can see by the pained look on your face that you’re probably thinking, “A little ringing in your ears, big deal. It’s not like it’s a legitimate handicap.”

Sure, it’s just a little ringing, or my case the noise of angry bees in a death battle with heavily armed crickets. But… let me put it this way: you ever come across a cabin by a waterfall and think to yourself, “Wow, how glorious that would be, living beside a waterfall?” In reality, though, someone living by a waterfall probably bolts upright in the middle of the night and screams, “For the love of God, someone shut off that !@#$&*! waterfall!”

My head is that cabin and tinnitus is my waterfall.

The difference, of course, is no one has ever said, “Gee, that must be so cool, having Mariah Carey singing her very highest note in your ears all the time.” Or if they have, I haven’t heard them.

Ha-ha! That’s a tinnitus joke. The jokes are what prevent me from running over there and impaling myself on the chocolate fountain, which come to think of it may be the source of the rumbling noise, someone should probably check it out.

Oh yes, tinnitus can cause depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, lack of concentration, sleep problems, uh, lack of concentration, stress, concentration lackingness, irritability, olives, canapes, Camembert, Buffalo wings…

Sorry, got distracted by the buffet table again. What were we talking about? I hate forgetting! DAMN YOU, TINNITUS! Sorry, that’s the irritability talking. Oops, hold me up, here comes the fatigue…

“Wear Stanfield-only hoodies”? Well, okay, brand loyalty’s not a big thing for me, plus it’s already plenty warm in here, but I appreciate your concern. It’s good to have someone to talk to, actually. My conversations usually start with someone saying, “Mrblemrmblemrbllle mrrb,” and I say “What?” “Mrblemrmblemrbllle mrrb…!” “What?” “MRBLEMRMBLEMRBLLLE MRRB!” “WHAT!?!” “BLARGABLARG!!!” And then my wife leaves for work.

I watch TV with subtitles now. I could use those in real life.

And before you ask, I have had my hearing checked, but I don’t have sufficient hearing loss to warrant hearing aids, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about my tinnitus. I’ll just have to live with it. Sometimes, though, I sing along, like this: HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

You’re shaking your head no. “Floor sandings are kaput” you say? That can’t be right. I’m really sorry, but I can’t understand you. Here: write it down on this slightly soiled paper napkin. It’s merely chocolate from the fountain, I swear. Let me read that:

“You’re standing on my foot.”

Oh. Apologies.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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19 Responses to Got Tinnitus? I Hear Ya!

  1. I remember reading about this problem when Suzanne Vega released “Murmur: Blood on the Tracks Makes Noise,” a tribute to Dylan & Stipe and other people who mumble as an art form.
    Seriously, very tough and draining. During a brief episode of it, possibly to related to dehydration/high altitude, I looked it up and read “avoid the use of stimulants to the nervous system,” which would seem to include…being conscious?
    But how can one feel irritable when you got Camembert, buffalo wings & a chocolate fountain to dunk ’em in, a dream combination.

  2. Your article is funny in a visual sort of way even though the situation isn’t… 🙂

    I grew up with Tinnitus after a childhood illness and spent my adolescence isolated because of the damn sounds in my years. It sucks. I hope it passes.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      So did it go away? I don’t expect mine to but curious.

      • It did in my 20s and came back during and post pregnancy so I attribute it partially to hormonal shifts.

        But I have permanent loss in one ear so if it’s still in that ear I can’t hear it.

        There are ways to alleviate it. Some say chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture helped them.

        I haven’t tried those but would consider it when it comes back (which I anticipate)…

  3. I’ve had non-stop, extremely loud tinnitus since 2020. Have you tried the trick of putting your palms on your ears and tapping the back of your neck with your fingertips? If you do it for a full minute, it only decreases the volume of the tinnitus for a half a minute or so, but it’s handy when I’m trying to decide whether that’s really a beeping I’m hearing in the other room …
    My favourite sound in the world has always been quiet. :/ I really hope the screaming bees go away one day. For you too.

  4. OK, I’m still laughing from the “sweet-and-sour nipples,” but I really feel for you with the tinnitus. Doesn’t seem possible docs can’t do anything about it. How maddening. I sing, and I’ve given myself temporary tinnitus before: not a good idea to belt a soprano piece in the car with the windows up. (What else am I supposed to do when the kids are practicing soccer?) Since then, I’m really careful about my hearing. I am the mom with the earplugs at the basketball game. It’s OK, none of us cares about being cool. I mean it’s too late for me anyway. Here’s hoping for some relief for you!!

  5. pinklightsabre says:

    I find it comes and goes, my version, for the past 10-15 years now, one ear only. Weird in closets for example, where it really kicks in. And of course when I indulge in music or headsets with my video game it kind of aggravates it. It’s “come” now for several months but I do find it abates, and my version of it isn’t so bad. Hope you can get used to yours, or not be so distracted by it. Does make it rough at parties though, I get you there mister.

  6. Gavin Keenan says:

    Welcome to the “huh?” world. My hearing loss began with tinnitus 30 years ago. I was a cop and spent many years cruising around in a cruiser with the drivers side window partially open to hear what was going on outside while patrolling around. I would get home from work late at night and read for a bit before hitting the sack. One particular night, I was aggravated by what I thought were a flock of birds squawking outside the house. Thinking something was outside disturbing them, I went out to take a look, but alas, the birds had gone silent. I returned to my copy of MAD Magazine and dammit if they didn’t start all over again. I finally went to bed and woke my wife asking her if she could hear the damn birds. Obviously she could not, but thought the idea of being awakened at two in the morning was for the birds. I put up with this for a year or so (she did too) and then went to a hearing doc who examined me. When learning of my occupation, he diagnosed me with “Truckers Ear.” As time passed, my ability to hear soft voices, others in crowded rooms, etc. faded away to the point that I constantly had my hand cupped behind my ear as I said “Come again?” Eventually, in went a hearing aid and then another. Being somewhat of an introvert by nature, I too, am the guy in the corner of the living room imitating a lamp. The personality matches the infirmity. And truth be told, much of what is said today isn’t worth hearing much anyway.
    Keep the faith.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I attribute my origin story, probably inaccurately and unfairly, to my youngest child, as an infant, letting out a piercing cry in my ear. There was a pop and a ringing. Probably, though, it was the music and the, yes, car window and the genetics. As one of life’s afflictions, you won’t see my cursing God over it, but damn it’s annoying! Hope the hearing aids help you.

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