Tinnitus (play /tɪˈnaɪtəs/ or /ˈtɪnɪtəs/; from the Latin word tinnītus meaning “ringing”) is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.
I’ve got it. I’ve had it for quite a while now, maybe 14 years or so. It’s hard for me to describe what the sound is. Best I can say is to ask someone to remember a time they’ve ever been in a really loud night-club or rock concert, and remember that sound in their ears right after they went outside. Well, that’s what it’s like for me, except it never wears off. It’s just always there.
Apparently is very common. I remember once when I mentioned it in a status update on Facebook, I got several replies from people saying they had it too. I’ve done some reading on it and I’m luckily in the majority of sufferers, about 70%, from whom it’s not overwhelming. The buzz is always there, in the background. Most of the time I don’t even notice it. While I’m at work, or out in public, there’s all the other noise that around. It’s only when I’m alone, like when I’m in the bathroom at home, or in my room when I turn everything off, or when I’m driving with the windows rolled up in my car and no radio on (I never play the radio in my car, anymore). Like, this morning, as I was driving to work, I was aware of the sound. But I’ve read about some people who have it where it’s so bad it’s overwhelming, just loud noise 24/7, where they can’t even sleep. That sounds awful.
And the thing is, there’s no cure. No treatment. Once you have it, that’s it, you’re stuck with it for life. And though I know it could be much worse, it does bug me sometimes. I think about the fact that I may live another 40 or 50 years and I will NEVER experience the joy of total silence again. Bummer.
So consider this a public service announcement to anyone who bothers reading this. Be careful of your hearing. If you must work around loud noise, then get earplugs. Also, use earplugs when you go to a music concert. Don’t blast your music super loud while in your car. Be careful with the sound on your iPod or another MP3 player if you use the earbuds. Protect your ears, please.