Sharing unchangeable news with others has always seemed pointless to me. What cannot be changed is not a conversation, it is an announcement. I don't want to make a piece of writing out of this. So I will just say it. Tinnitus has won. I just cannot really believe it. I now have tinnitus in both ears, which, frankly, is more than I expected to suffer. In the truly absurd manner in which humans silently bargain with fate or the higher power, believing there is a negotiation (implying a percentage of power) upon where we will accept x if we don't have to lose y or will accept x as long as it doesn't become 2x, I also thought the proverbial We had a deal.
What bullshit is that. Yep, when I got the first scare in Dec 2006 that the tinnitus I was experiencing for a few days was not going away, was staying, and did stay, I learned to ignore and therefore live with it. I told myself it was no big deal, at least it wasn't both ears. Since then, the ringtone (ha! but what else would you call it?) has remained consistent, making it easy to truly ignore. I wrote about this in 2006 when it happened and I likened tinnitus to an ex-boyfriend staying on your couch for a few days (when I thought it would go away). I made peace, but had another scare last year when, for some reason, being in Iceland caused it to change to a helicopter thwacking. Seriously! It began upon arrival and subsided upon returning to NY. I attribute this maddening change to the magnetic fields. The thwack does visit, but thankfully, rarely and briefly. Occasionally there have been temporary blasts of another ring, a different pitched ring, in the good ear and the damaged one. Always during a quiet moment, transient, like a passing car. Sometimes tho, that car would stop at a red light, alarming me with the extended stay. Sometimes twice or three times during one day. And so, without fanfare, did the sound pull into the parking lot of my right ear, the other ear, and stay. This was yesterday, Friday, September 14, during class, super quiet, about 11 am.
Well. There it is. I didn't notice that the sound stayed, maybe it went and came back, until I went to bed, and it was waiting in the quiet. I couldn't believe it; couldn't believe my ears. (Let me have my puns, I am in grief, and instead of denial, I am going with jokes.) Two different pitches, a fucking harmony, in stereo, in both ears, on. It's loud. It's loud in here, inside my head, where the sound is. An hour went by. I said to myself, nothing will ever be silent again.
The silence of living with my deaf boyfriend, who is deaf, is also no longer silent. Go figure that.
Tell me this isn't fucked up. The first tinnitus struck while stubbornly pushing a live band recording. I played music. I went to loud shows. I got permanent tinnitus. I gave it up. We had a deal. I thought. I bought ear plugs, I wore them more and more as loud sounds, and then medium sounds, gave me pain. Ear plus in the subway. Ear plugs listening to someone speak into a microphone. Seems unfair, seems excessive - one ear, not both - deal.
Guess there was no deal. I met a real live Beethoven in 2005 - never forgot him, a man doing a one-man show/musical about himself. He was a musical composer, and suffered tinnitus which in a few short years grew to be so deafening, he became officially deaf. He could no longer hear conversational speech and was learning sign language to adapt to his new life.
I already know sign language. I am an interpreter. I interpret for a living. Another way to look at that is, I hear and talk for a living. Hearing is half the equation. Yes, it's cool that I can sign and understand sign. However, I am never going to be deaf, because even if I go deaf, I can hear the fucking tinnitus having a field day between the sheets.
The concilation is, no one can hear it, so Jon isn't missing out on something by being Deaf. Also, right now how I feel, 24-hours into it, is I will take stereo multi-pitch ringing to the horrific helicopter thwacking I suffered in Iceland. I was actually dizzy and nauseous. The drag is, it is hard for him as a deaf person, to relate. He doesn't know what ringing of any kind sounds like, nor does he know the difference between what sounds you would hear in your ears and what sounds you would not. He is what I like to call Superdeaf. He has never been amplified in his entire life so he has no mental sounds, either.
There is no cure for tinnitus. I know the first one was caused by feedback from a microphone or guitar amp - it was a direct trauma. But I thought I took it in stride. Muffled all loud sounds. Gracefully accepted that I would never play in a band again. Ignored the permanent ring, didn't complain. We had a deal! Now, I am not so sure. I'm minding my own business sitting in (ironically) a speech science class about sound waves, so timely you would think I am making this up, and right on cue, a sine wave (a pure tone) that science isn't sure if tinnitus is actual measurable sound or a kind of mental audiological phantom limb kind of swims into my ear. Happened countless times before. Why did this one stay? Will it get worse? Louder? Meaner? Will they both?
Like most things I think and feel, I guess I will keep it to myself. You know, when I had foot surgery 3 months ago, I got so sick of people seeing my booted, bandaged foot and asking what happened what happened? Even total strangers wanted in on the incident. Visibility is a drag. Invisibility I now understand is worse, because I don't want to have this conversation.
Because a conversation about what I cannot change is an announcement, and announcements are not my style. Thank you, blog technology.