Since we got our new hearing loss friendly TV, my husband and I have been watching a lot more television. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but watching TV is definitely more fun now that I can better follow the dialogue. We have gotten ourselves particularly addicted to one show on Netflix…
Last night, we were watching an episode where a character was experiencing periodic ringing in his ears as a result of a head injury. A high-pitched sound would play and the character would wince in pain, losing his ability to concentrate or converse. Tinnitus was never mentioned by name, but the signs were unmistakable. The sound played repeatedly through the episode and by the end of the hour, my ears were ringing too.
The ringing sound on the show was a painful one for me. Given my particular hearing loss and type of hearing aids, high-pitched sounds always bother my ears. This particular ringing was very much like the one I hear when my tinnitus is in full bloom. I winced along with the character in the show each time he heard the noise.
When the program was finished and the TV shut down for the night, I was surprised that I could still hear this annoying sound. It had lingered in my head uninvited and unappreciated, yet persistent and painful. Was it because this particular sound was so reminiscent of my own tinnitus that it had taken hold or was it simply the power of suggestion that the storyline ignited?
I looked to the Internet for answers, but didn’t find many. Tinnitus is not well understood, and what brings it on varies for different individuals. Remedies are also few and far between, although sound therapy and similar methods do sometimes help decrease the impact tinnitus can have on someone’s life.
Thankfully, my tinnitus is not that severe. Normally it is a general background hum that is often masked by my hearing aids. But it can be debilitating at times, especially if it occurs with vertigo or during a hearing test. For me, meditation seems to help keep it in check most of the time.
Luckily for me, I awoke the next morning and the ringing had receded. But I won’t make the same mistake again. The next time a TV show includes sounds of tinnitus, I will watch it on mute, using the captions to follow the storyline.
Readers, does your tinnitus flare up when you hear similar sounds?