Ringing. Buzzing. Roaring. Whooshing. Chirping. Beating. Humming. While you may enjoy these sounds in nature, they're no fun when they're coming from inside your own head. I've heard these sounds all of my life and up until about 10 years ago, I thought everyone heard them.
I failed my first hearing test at the tender age of 11. I couldn't explain to the Doctors why I couldn't hear the high pitched tones, and they never asked, so I was just diagnosed with a hearing loss and the Docs told my mom that I'd probably eventually need hearing aids.
What I didn't know how to communicate was the fact that I have a constant and very loud ringing/whooshing/humming tone in my ears. Both of them. And at times, it is so loud that I am unable to concentrate or withstand a lot of external stimulation without feeling stressed out. It's sort of like having an extreme sunburn and having someone rub sandpaper across your shoulders - very irritating, to say the least.
Because there is presently no cure for Tinnitus, I live with it. The only time I really have issues is in the car or when there is excessive background noise. I have become a phenomenal lip reader in the last 30 years and can usually catch the jist of the conversation if I can watch the mouths of people that I am conversing with. So much so that most people who meet me never know I have a hearing problem. They tend to think I am a great listener, because I hang on their every word.
Little do they know.
My husband and children are often frustrated with me because in reality I am not a good listener. I'd love to lie and say I was, but some days it takes too much effort to keep asking people to repeat themselves over and over. (and just as an aside - if someone does ask you to repeat what you said - say it just a tad bit louder than before...it's a good tip) It's one reason why I truly prefer to talk online or via email. A lot of my clients just don't understand and I don't offer any excuses.
There are times in the past when this would have held me back from doing something I really wanted to do. Not any longer. I've realized that giving in and accepting this is a part of who I am is really the first step towards becoming the me that God wants me to be. There's something so liberating in that acknowledgement.
For the first time in years, I am at peace with it.
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