Tinnitus Awareness Week begins today.
Tinnitus is the one symptom that I have lived with every day for over 20 years. Mine sounds like cicadas interspersed with a menagerie of other sounds intermittently. Fortunately most of the time it’s cicadas.
In addition to hearing loss, the tinnitus muffles sounds. Throw in background noise and all bets are off if I can hear people around a table speaking. Now we contend with masks and I don’t understand half of what is said. I never realized that I read lips until I could no longer see them.
Tinnitus isn’t the same for everyone. The sounds are different. I occasionally get test tone sounds and a helicopter sound, talking, music stuck on the same track on top of the cicadas. It makes it difficult to hear, sleep or function at times.
If I ingest too much salt my tinnitus becomes so loud that I cannot hear anything. I don’t measure my salt intake. I just don’t add salt to anything I prepare. I get enough salt by eating out, and in processed food. So far I haven’t had any problems with my method.
I haven’t found anything else to quiet the noise. I have coping mechanisms. At night I play sleep sounds. My current favorite is rain on a tin roof. Alexa asks me what sound I want to hear when I say, “Alexa, good night.” Ralph bought me a portable usb sleep sound device for Christmas. This will be traveling with me. Though my phone & YouTube can fill in.
I listen to music or have television on when I am alone or when I write. This makes my tinnitus less noticeable. As does the sleep sounds. Don’t get me wrong I can still hear my tinnitus even in the loudest situations, I just have something else to focus on.
In settings that are too loud or I am tired, my tinnitus has given me the chipmunk effect. Everyone sounds like chipmunks to me. This used to happen when I was drunk, but I no longer have to be drunk for it to happen. I can wear earplugs to concerts or loud events and that stops the chipmunk effect.
One thing people should know when speaking to someone hearing impaired and who has tinnitus is that it’s helpful to look directly at the person. Turning your head away when speaking means that I won’t hear what you’re saying. I find myself guilty of this faux pas too. I try to be mindful when speaking to others hearing impaired or not. It’s a good habit to get into.
Love, Peace and Light! Rita