I have not been able to distinguish the noises in my head from the sounds of the world around me for several decades.
This can be humorous if somewhat disturbing. For the last few months that I lived at the Holmes house in Kansas City, I thought my neighbors had undertaken a complete home-remodel. I finally realized that my brain produced whining saw noises even at times of total silence. On my little porch last evening, I sat musing about the universality of crickets, until I thought, it’s only six o’clock. . and surely enough, no crickets, just tinnitus.
The phenomenon started in my early teen years. My grandfather said that my hearing had begun to fail and I would soon need one of the hearing aids that he and my grandmother sold. An audiologist added to this diagnosis. He had told me to raise my finger every time I heard a tone. I dutifully raised one finger time and time again, but he had never started the test.
I understand that this condition results from a confused brain. Nonetheless, I enjoy it from time to time. It rises and lowers, ebbs and wanes. I have an orchestral soundtrack to dreary days.
Yesterday, I finally got an eye exam for which I’ve been striving since I moved to California. Unfortunately, the doctor had a lilting Asian voice, the pitch of which fell right in the middle of the range of the endless chattering inside my brain Her proclivity to interrupt added to my difficulty following her questions. She couldn’t wait for my answers. Once I asked her, very nicely, if I could finish responding. She replied that she didn’t want to lose her train of thought. Then she turned her back to me and started clicking through my chart on her computer screen.
I sat back in the examination chair, closed my eyes, and let myself be carried away by the noises in my head.
It’s the first day of the sixty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.