Monday, August 9, 2010

Ah, the things I hear

As I was waking from my nap I was listening to the sound of a neighbor mowing their lawn. At least I think that's what I was hearing. You see my MS has damaged the nerve to my right ear. Now there is a range of low noises and bass tones I just can't hear. I have a constant very high pitched ringing in my ear. And at times, I can tell you my pulse just be counting the beating I'm hearing.

And while all of that is very annoying, what I do hear, or think I hear I sometimes find entertaining. I guess it's all in trying to make the best I can of this disease. I'm sure that in the past I would hear a sound, my brain would quickly identify it and then just ignore it. Now when I hear something, I find that instead of just ignoring it, I'm concentrating on listening and identifying it.

Like that neighbor's lawn mower. If I would have guessed, I would have said that it was a neighbor across the street coming our direction with the mower. But it seemed to keep coming, then just faded out. Hmmm, I guess my neighbor's lawn isn't getting trimmed today. But I have no idea what that sound actually was.

Sometimes sounds can be enjoyable. Since I don't tend to hear the deep bass sounds, our furnace seems to sing music as it heats the house. Yes, it sounds like singing to me. That sound of a radio that you know is playing but you just can't make out the tune or the words exactly. But still, my active brain will sometimes mentally hum along, or start thinking of the song that it reminds me of. And yes, it's often different tunes.

I first realized this phenomenon at a high school diving meet that I was working when I didn't yet know I had MS. During the diving, the entire area is hushed so the diver can concentrate. During that time I was pleasantly listening to the crickets. No, there weren't actual crickets in the pool area. But some sound the pool filtering system was making sure sounded like summer crickets to me. It was rather nice.

Then there are times like the other night. We had a symphony at our house. I may have been the only audience member. The windows were open and the crickets (real ones this time) and toads were busy with their nightly serenade. But here in my mind, their sounds of violins and cellos were accompanied by the high pitched violin solo of my tinnitus, with bass accompaniment of both Joe and our dog Keesa's snoring, and with drum rolls and cymbal crashing provided from our storm sump pump. I was happy they were at least all playing in the same key!


  1. This was delightful! Learning how to truly listen is a gift, one taught to me in therapy as part of meditation.
    looking forward to reading more of your posts,