Tinnitus, tinnitus; all is tinnitus!

I feel like this truck looks.

For the past couple of months I’ve been having recurring hearing problems in the form of blocked Eustachian tubes and the subduing of sound that comes with it. No problem; it happens, then it goes away right? It’s usually due to inflammation caused by allergies or a cold. Right. Often accompanied by slight to moderate but nevertheless temporary tinnitus (internal ear noise). Yeah, okay but … the tinnitus part was hanging on while the Eustachian tube part went away. A little more, a little less, but … now it was always there.

Historical perspective: I’ve always had fantastic hearing. We’re talking hyperacusis here. It came with the Apserger’s. The ability to hear not only very soft sounds but also a wide frequency range. Sometimes it has been an asset: my Dad, an avid audiophile, always had me listen to any new equipment he got because he knew my hearing was good enough to detect a weak voice coil or unequal frequency reproduction. The down side was the pain loud environments would cause, such as oh-too-many stores with their music cranked to ’11’. Sometimes I worked in noisy environments, and as such I have been using hearing protection for a long time – and still do: you won’t find me chainsawing or splitting wood without the muffs on!

Despite such precautions, now hear this: the continual noises (for there are different types) of tinnitus and, as an extra added bonus, diplacusis echoica – ‘double’ hearing. That aspect suddenly manifested itself when I was in the Post Office last week and really freaked me out. It was “call the doctor” time, although I knew nothing would come of it. His first inclination was “ear wax build-up”. Well I’ve had that before and I know this isn’t that. He couldn’t see any such build-up. The second guess was “infection”, which can also be dismissed as not fitting the symptoms. He couldn’t find any sign of that either. Have I ever mentioned we don’t have a good GP here? My usual gambit of bringing ex-doctor wife along to tell him what to do can not be employed during the pandemic. I have a hard time understanding him anyway, as he talks softly and mumbles and appears to have no confidence in himself. Well with diagnoses like that he shouldn’t have. The Mrs. says I intimidate the man, which could be true as I am somewhat imposing in both build and personality. It has happened before. Anyway I came away with an appointment for a muscle biopsy to see about the inclusion body myositis and instructions to get a hearing exam before going on to an ear specialist. Yeah like this is going to work out.

One of the things I really dislike about being old is the way the medical profession dismisses any complaint you have on the grounds of your age: hearing loss, joint pain, fatigue … whatever. It’s always “to be expected in a man of your age”. As if dying by installments is normal. Meanwhile anyone of a senior disposition who does manage to retain normal function is viewed as a medical marvel. Hurrah! You escaped the inevitable failing of replacement cell mutation imperfection!

So here I am waiting on the highly unlikely prospect of an appointment with an ear specialist. I don’t expect anything to come from it even if it does happen. It will be the same as the Inclusion Body Mysositis: “learn to live with it”. Easy for them to declare as they aren’t the ones suffering from it.

Oh and if you like weird coincidences, apparently in the UK February 1-7 is “tinnitus awareness week”. Or something.

One thought on “Tinnitus, tinnitus; all is tinnitus!

  1. I got a bad case of tinnitus when I was about 22, a persistent whistling in my ears loud enough to interfere with my sleep. The regular doctor sent me to an otolaryngologist who ran a bunch of tests and finally announced that he could do more testing, but it would rapidly grow very expensive and he probably couldn’t fix any root causes anyway. Fortunately, after two years it abated. I wish the same for you, except sooner than two years.


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