Way back in 1994, on the night of February 11, I had trouble going to sleep. I kept hearing something like water running. I looked everywhere around the house and stopped suddenly when I realized that the sound was coming from in my own head. I never heard silence again for 22 years now.
I don’t celebrate Feb 11 as Tinnitus Day. Far from it. I just happened to remember that night trying to sleep 22 years ago. Those early days were nothing compared to what the condition has progressed to now. Back then, I could at least find some peace listening to the rain or crickets chirping which did a fantastic job of masking the noise in my head. I used to think, I can handle this if it doesn’t get any worse. Then it got worse. Okay, I can handle that as long as it doesn’t get worse. Then it got worse again.
Over these past two years, I have had to deal with becoming essentially tone-deaf. My right ear cannot hear all of the overtones like it used to so everything I hear on that side is out of tune with my left ear. Yeah, a musician that can’t detect pitch. Freakin’ awesome. I can tune my guitar, but the moment I play it, to me it sounds horribly out of tune unless I play really really really quiet. This is why I stopped performing with Nadaband, stopped writing, recording, or really doing much of anything guitar related.
I can handle that as long as it doesn’t get any worse, right? It got worse.
Enter Meniere’s Syndrome – the amazing condition that combines tinnitus, vertigo, low frequency hearing loss, and this stopped up sensation in the ear. Now I can’t hear, have trouble walking a straight line, and hurl up my toenails when a full blown vertigo attack hits. How cool is that? An ear condition that makes me sea sick.
Sailing over to the bright side, there is treatment available. For the past couple of months, I’ve been getting steroid shots in the ear. No, I mean IN THE EAR, as in a big needle poked through the eardrum, holy crap that’s cold, now I’m really freakin’ deaf, in the ear.
It’s not that bad actually. It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. Treatment is making all of my ear problems a little bit better and easier to deal with. Even though I don’t play like I used to, I can still write books about them. But that’s another story for another post.
Until then, stay tuned,