It's been quite a while since I last posted about Tinnitus here. It's not that it's gone away, but more that there generally isn't too much to report. No one's come up with a miracle solution or anything. At my end, I just try to behave myself and not unduly punish my ears too much, which is still much harder than ya think. Sadly true to the heavy metal maxim of my youth, when I have headphones on, it's never loud enough.
But there were a couple of instances this week relevant to the screaming tea kettle that lives in my right ear. For a start, my friend J. from The Gathering also just developed a case of it. He shot me a list of practical questions asking what methods I've used and how I deal with it. I had to respond that I've pretty much acclimated to it at this point. For a long while, I dutifully tried "remedies" like Ginko Biloba and the promisingly-named supplement "RingStop," but neither ever seemed to do very much. I visited audiologists and ear doctors. I had a battery of tests. I tried ear-candling. I'm still game to try acupuncture, but haven't gotten around to it. A colleague of mine says his mother has Tinnitus and swears by something called Lipo Flavenoid, but I haven't given that a whirl as yet either. In any case, nothing I've tried has significantly lessened the shrill ring in my ear over the last eleven years.
But, sadly, my ear problems don't begin and end with the ring. I've evidently damaged my hearing pretty severely in my left ear -- oddly the one without the ring. As a result, I find myself asking people to repeat themselves, which is a complete bummer. Believe it or not, there are certain instances when asking the person you're speaking with to repeat themselves isn't really an option. In such dilemmas, you have to think on your feet and fill in the blanks yourself, which isn't always that simple.
Last night was another example. My wife and I attended a cocktail party thrown by some fellow parents from our son Oliver's pre-kindergarten class. It's always interesting to meet some of the other parents, so Peg and I were quite looking forward to it. The shindig was held at this frankly awe-inspiring apartment on 14th Street off 6th Avenue. If you ever told me I'd covet a place at such an address, I'd have probably scoffed, but believe me -- this place was amazing (the photo at the top is one I shot of myself in their palatial bathroom -- yeah, I know, how classy!) In any case, whilst mingling about with the other parents in their airport-hangar-sized living room, I found myself really struggling to hear what people were saying to me. Worse yet, I found myself chatting simultaneously at one point with Oliver's teacher and the school's somewhat intimidating principal, Mr. H. Both of them were blathering on, and I honestly couldn't hear a damn word either of them were saying over the buzzing din of the rest of the room (let alone the ringing in my right ear, which is always, always there). I strained to make coherent sense of what they were saying, but it was largely to no avail. Given my condition, this little scenario plays out all too often, and I have to resort to a routine of smiling, nodding, laughing knowingly and making the occasional utterance of "yeah," "you're so right" or "oh, absolutely." In a word, it sucks.
We practically closed out the party. As the crowd thinned, I had an easier time making out what people were saying, but it still gave me pause. I can't imagine what impression I must have made on Mr. H. If the problem persists (which, let's face it, it probably will), there's probably a hearing aid in my future. Once again, kids, lemme say this: HEARING PROBLEMS SUCK!!! Turn it down now, and spare yourself the torment.