Well, it’s official, dammit. I have inner ear damage resulting in hearing loss, probably permanent.
A couple of months ago in the dead of night, a storm came through the city. Lightning was cracking all around us, and being a deep sleeper I was only vaguely aware. But then a bolt struck in our back yard and the boom got us out of bed. The percussive wave of the strike turned on my bedlamp, which is activated by a pressure-sensitive rheostat. My head was ringing from the shockwave, and my ears hurt. It was like a large-bore cannon had gone off next to my head.
Two days later my ears still ached, so I saw my doctor. He saw no physical signs of damage, but my ears were ringing with a couple of loud tones that muffled some sounds. He sent me to a specialist, but I already knew the outcome. There is no cure for tinnitus.
I’ve had a very mild case of tinnitus since I was a kid, no doubt due to dropping out of trees a bunch of times. Those little tones—there were four distinct notes—were easy to ignore and really were discernible only in the quietest of times. No problem.
Not so anymore. This noise is so loud that it cannot be drowned by hubby’s white noise machine he uses at night. (He’s got radar dishes for ears and can’t sleep without it.) I’ve had to ask people to repeat themselves a number of times, especially on the phone. I have to avoid other loud sounds, as I’ve learned they make the noise louder. (Ben popped a balloon near me. Never again.) That means no more rock concerts or rocking out in the car on my commute.
Shit. This isn’t old age. This isn’t a cautionary tale. There is nothing to be learned here. This just sucks. I’m having a momentary pity party that I’ll get over. I’ve got so much going for me, and I can still hear most things. I wish I could hear what good will come of it.