For the past few mornings I have been waking up to the sound of a smoke detector going off. It comes on slowly until I wake up realizing that an alarm has gone off, but something isn’t quite right as I move around. The noise doesn’t change. It doesn’t get more or less quiet as I move to different areas. That’s because the noise is literally in my head.
My hearing has taken a turn for the worse in the past few years. It’s fine while on the phone or speaking to someone in a quiet room. But sounds begin to meld together when in a noisy area. I have a problem hearing servers at restaurants, which has caused the occasional mix up, because of all the ambient sound. A hearing aid would fix the problem, but then there is the new problem of accepting I’m getting old.
But this new hearing issue has that beat. The sound of an alarm going off in your head is not very pleasant, especially in the early morning. At first I thought it was something that would just go away on it’s own, but after this morning I had to do some checking.
Over 35 million people in this country have Tinnitus. Some cases are so extreme they lead to sleep depravation. And in some instances the sound is so pronounced that another person can actually hear the noise from the affected persons ear. The causes are often wax build up and loud noise that damages the ear.
I have had my share of loud noises in my life. Years of Def Leopard and Van Halen blasting into my ear have no doubt taken a toll. I was a teenager during the Walkman era, and my Sony went to 11. I recently told my son, who was complaining about how loud my Foo Fighters music was, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”. He responded that it’s so loud because I’m so old. I don’t like be out witted by a 13 year old.
Then of course there was my brief stint in the military where I got to hear what a M16 sounds like at about 3 inches from my head on a nearly daily basis. The fact that the hearing in my right ear seems to be a bit worse than my left makes a strong case that my time in the army is what caused some of my problems.
But after doing some investigating, it looks like neither Eddie Van Halen nor Uncle Sam may be to blame. I learned that heavier than average consumption of aspirin can cause Tinnitus. I have been taking two low doses of aspirin daily as suggested by various health resources. I’m guessing that’s it been building up in my system and that’s what’s suddenly causing the problem.
So I’ll risk the heart attack in lieu of a good nights sleep and see what happens over the next few days. Has anyone else had this problem?