This morning as I sat in the dining room reading a book my daughter peeked her head around the doorway. She said to me, “Can you hear the bobbleheads making noise?” We have a collection of solar powered bobbleheads that shake their hips and heads by the dining room window. I looked up at her and then at the bobbleheads. I said, “No, I cannot hear them. Are they making noise?” I listened but not could not hear them. All I could hear was the ringing in my brain.
I then stopped for a moment, focused and listened. In a few seconds, I heard the low pitched back and forth noise of the bobbleheads. I could hear it all the time.
This is significant to me because it makes me think that my awareness of sounds is being impacted by the tinnitus. Because the tinnitus is so pervasive, I wonder if my brain or myself has just given up on trying to hear some things. I am trying to come up with an analogy so let me just brainstorm here.
It is like:
- Learned helplessness
- The sirens are frequent so you block out the background noise when you live in the city.
- Someone constantly saying something is impossible so you stop thinking it is remotely possible
- Something is always up close in your field of view so you stop focusing on the surrounding landscape and miss the beauty far in the horizon.
There is some literature about our ability to handle stress or complex situations. We wear out in our ability to deal with stress. To help manage and optimize our lives, we simplify and routinize other parts of our lives or senses. For example, even though we see a lot when we look around, we only focus on a few things. We in a sense block out other things that we see but do not fully acknowledge. I am not using the right terms here but I wanted to share this the best I can. So, with tinnitus, I am constantly faced with this ringing noise that I am sure is a stress on me whether I acknowledge it or not. With this constant stress, I think my brain starts to simplify and block out some other things that I actually am hearing.
This realization which I think I have had before is important – not only for my tinnitus journey, but also for our lives in general. What are we missing or blind and deaf to because of all the noise and lights we have to deal with everyday of our lives. What feelings are we unaware of because of the overload?
I can hear the boobleheads.
I will cure myself.