Is the tinnitus plague
for real?


An article in a recent issue of The Times stated that thousands of people are suffering from tinnitus but I donít believe it.
              The article said that when sufferers lay their head on the pillow and try to sleep they hear a buzzing or hum which can drive them crazy.
              I get that. When I lie down to go to sleep there is this extremely irritating hum or buzz which drives me crazy. (I would liken it to the consistent, unchanging sound of a French horn as sometimes used by Mozart.)
              But, and hereís the point, if I go to bed early, I donít hear it. I do wake up at about eleven or eleven thirty and hear the noise but not when I first go to bed.
              It gets worse as the early morning wears on but disappears at about nine or ten and sometimes later. That means that I can get up in the early morning and start work on the computer and still hear it, so it isnít only something I hear when I lie down to go to sleep.
              When I lived in Beckenham the noise was both loud and penetrating. But worse, it didnít stop until mid to late afternoon and that made reading impossible. The evenings were okay but at about eleven I would start to hear it again.
              Now I am convinced that this is some kind of electronic device but itís not as if someone switches it on or off. Itís more like someone using a dimmer switch. Iím often lying comfortably not hearing anything and then gradually the sound seems to slowly just Ďappearí like a ghost.
              When I first heard it in Beckenham, last April, it was so loud I was furious. Thinking it was an electricity sub station I rang EDF and complained about the noise. When I mentioned the buzzing, the woman on the other end of the phone said she could hear it through the phone and that she thought it sounded terrible.
              Well it wasnít an electricity sub station and then I started complaining to the council about their street lights, but engineers came out and it wasnít the street lights.
              The big problem was that even in the day it could be heard in all parts of the house but the moment I stepped outside, it disappeared. That made it absolutely impossible to find a source. I even tried switching off the electricity at the mains, but that didnít stop it, it only confirmed that it wasnít coming from the house in which I was living.
              What I did next was get the council to come out with a recording device but later got a letter from them saying that their recorder had not picked up any unusual sounds and so I probably had tinnitus (or hyperacousis). Now whatís interesting about this is that using my own recording device and a good microphone I then tried to record the sound myself, but had no luck. My mini disc didnít pick up anything. However, when I tried again and watched the sound level indicator, I could see that it was fluctuating in time to the slight fluctuations of the buzz I could hear.
              I donít know what this noise is and have dealt with the problem by playing a Mozart mp3 track all night. It hides the sound though in the early morning I often have to turn the volume up so as to hide the buzz which, at this time, usually increases in volume and intensity. (Beethoven doesnít work because there are many long pauses in his works and, when the music pauses, the buzz is audible. Mozart often goes on without pauses and it also doesn't fluctuate up and down too much and so is excellent for drowning out this buzz and letting me sleep.)
              I no longer speak to my friends about this, Iím tired of being told I have tinnitus when I know I havenít. If anyone tries to talk to you about this tinnitus problem, think carefully about what they say and donít believe everything you hear. Not everyone has hearing sensitive enough to hear this buzzing but it exists. Ringing in the ears is a sound inside a personís head and is tinnitus, but this buzzing, Iím convinced, is not. But I have no idea whatís causing it.

---March 5, 2011---

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