23 November 2010

the fairy bells, the river barge, the hissing pressure valve and the fridge

Latin, ringing, from tinnire to ring, of imitative origin, plural tinniti
First came the fairy bells, years ago, souvenir from India, Delhi-belly and long overnight train journeys. Benign tinkling in my right ear. Gentle, almost a comfort, never a bother, honestly.
Last September after I collapsed in the night pulling down with me the small sideboard from the upstairs landing and banging my head on the banisters the river barge arrived in my left ear, a steady low drone mostly, occasionally swelling into a louder more urgent hammering filling the whole head. At first I could not believe that this sound was only for me to hear and I would get up in the night closing windows, even walking down towards the river to see and check. I battled with this one, still do at times. I have been told that this is a definite symptom of autoimmune inner ear diseases, a constant reminder of permanent damage.
In February the pressure valve started its hissing in both ears. I often think that what's hissing is my life and that it will go on for as long as there is life inside me to hiss away. Like excess steam.
The fridge noise comes and goes, competing with the river barge in my left ear. It's nothing, really. It's too much, really.
My head, my hearing has become a noisy playground, a battlefield at times. 
Silence is only possible outdoors, with birdsong and wind and actual river barges masking these intruders. 
But there is the wonderful elasticity of the brain. And the faint hope of relearning and relistening.

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