Can you hear that?
No, you probably can’t. But I can.
Tinnitus: ringing or buzzing in the ears.
That definition just does not do it justice in my case.
A concentration-shattering, perpetual whistling, more like. A shrill, hissing, sibilant, headache-inducing screeching that eases off to a whispering susurration at times.
Or maybe you can hear it. Apparently, tinnitus affects an estimated 32 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Center for Health Statistics studies. (Other nationalities are available.)
William Shatner of the Original Star Trek TV series suffered long-lasting tinnitus after a special effects explosion fired nearby. (See video)
Mine started earlier in the year and has brought my creativity to a grinding snail’s pace (See? I can’t even get my metaphors straight.) No explosions; no gunfire; no rock concerts – it just started.
I’ll be attending the UK’s NovaCon SF&F convention this weekend and hope I can hear the presentations sufficiently well. I’ll have to avoid the bigger parties (sigh), as the sounds of crowded social gatherings merge into a muffled blur of mush.
BUT… I’m really looking forward to meeting up with fellow writers and genre fans (in small groups in the meeting room on your right) to gather news and info on the latest developments and trends.
Basic suggestions on how to overcome tinnitus?
- Avoid possible irritants. Reduce your exposure to things that may make your tinnitus worse. (So I should avoid all news bulletins with political content? Easier said than done.)
- Cover up the noise. In a quiet setting, a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static may help mask the noise from tinnitus. (At a convention?)
- Manage stress. Stress can make tinnitus worse. (See 1. above.)
- Reduce your alcohol consumption. (Ah, well, yes, hmmm. At a convention? Right. Again, easier said than done.)
Looks as though my upcoming weekend won’t be as therapeutic as I’d hoped!
I just hope the medics have come up with something new that works on me by the time I get back.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Have to go and pack. Catch you all later.