Radios blaring, sirens wailing, bells ringing, trucks hauling, planes flying, phones ringing, tires screeching. I can’t take it! What I would give for just one day of total, blissful, silence.
Unfortunately, that’s something I can never have, not any more. I have what’s called tinnitus, a constant ringing in my ears. My left ear is worse than my right, although it is audibly present in both.
Tinnitus is preventable, at least it was in my case. In high school I drowned out any intrusion from the outside world with a Walkman turned up just shy of distortion. Later it was dance clubs and concerts with no thought given to ear plugs or other hearing protection. In short, I have only myself to blame.
The ringing isn’t the only price I’m paying for sins past. I’ve been slowly going deaf for years. It’s a gradual, agonizing slide towards silence. The sounds I used to hear, the sounds I want to hear, replaced by a ringing that won’t go away.
Music is a big part of my life. Few things bring me more joy than sharing a new find or even an old favorite with friends. I’m constantly picking up new CDs and looking for new artists to enjoy. When I’m working on my model trains, or at my day job, music is playing in the background. I notice what song is playing at a restaurant. It’s hard to imagine a life without.
I’m scared. I don’t want to live in silence, feeling isolated from a world I used to be a part of. It’s even more frightening because I can see it coming and there’s no way to stop it.
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