One about Tinnitus – Part 1

I must have been to hundreds of gigs since that my first exposure to Showaddywaddy in Oxford’s New Theatre in the mid-70s. Hundreds. And then there were the school discos. Ringing in my ears is something I had become accustomed to. However, about four years ago I went to see some bands in Belfast’s Limelight and afterwards, the ringing did not stop. I say ringing – this was not the dulled hearing, the vague sense of discomfort after a loud gig. This became – and has been since – the whine of a taxiing 737. And it’s not in my ears. It’s in my head. All the time. ALL THE TIME. This, gentle reader, is tinnitus.

Tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that do not come from an outside source. It’s not usually a sign of anything serious and may get better by itself.


Vaguely reassuring as this opening statement is, it’s not particularly accurate. There are only two things you should be told if you have reached the point of searching for information about tinnitus:

  • Seek professional help; and
  • it probably won’t get better by itself. If at all.

A digression. It’s not a man thing to be resistant to the idea of seeking medical attention. It’s a person thing. My wife has been at me to get checked out for years. Yes, there are the ghosts of those in the family who have dropped dead unexpectedly. And yes, tinnitus can be a result of hypertension.And no, I didn’t go to the doctor because, well, I didn’t want to. So when Sarah made an appointment for me (I didn’t think she’d actually do it), I had to go.

170/115. That’s Level 2 hypertension. I’m putting you on immediate medication and we’re going to make an appointment for you to carry the 24-hr monitoring.

The GP

And my ears are also full of years of compacted wax, to the point where the doctor could not even see my eardrums. More about that in Part 2.

In the meantime, I’m medicated and due for monitoring. I bought a cheap smart watch to have some sort of way of checking in a probably-not-medically-accurate fashion what my blood pressure is. I’m to avoid stress.

The ghosts of the suddenly dead were right to be hovering on the margins. This will be an ongoing trek. Stay tuned.

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