Hearing things

Those who know me know I don’t have the best hearing.

But I kept hearing things in the house. Not so much when I was outside or at work but specifically here at home.

At first it started like a low hum, maybe a fridge running or when you can hear your neighbor vacuum. My neighbors are too far away to hear something like that so I kept trying to figure out the hum. I couldn’t quite hear it well enough to determine the sound’s origin. It was just on the verge of my hearing and really frustrating.

I started problem solving and decided the low hum could be the furnace and had a company come out and do maintenance on my furnace. He labeled the furnace sound and in good shape. He checked the water heater and the two water filter systems. All in good shape. I asked the technician if he heard a sound. He said no and for me, the sound persisted.

I never heard the sound at work but I work in a place where people scream. There’s bells and buzzers and people talking over each other in rude fashion. Up here it’s quiet. Really quiet.

Then came the sound like a trickling stream. The gentle flow of water making it’s way through a pipe or something. I worried the water system in the house might have problems and since I’ve never had it checked, I called a well company. The company owner and his wife both came out and he inspected the well and well head, the reservoir tank under the house, I asked him if he heard the sound and he said maybe. I asked the wife if she heard it and she said, maybe.

Bad hearing is not a always function of age, it’s just really bad ears. My mother was a 3-pack a day smoker and back in the 50s mothers didn’t think anything about lighting up near their children. Turns out I’m allergic to cigarette smoke and the result was lots of ear infections, tonsilitis, sinus infections and some pretty badly scarred ear drums. Once I left my mother’s house my ear troubles cleared up. That is until an infrequent ear infection ate a hole in my ear drum and then the problems really started. I see a specialist but for a long time my ears give me grief.

Fluttering was the next sound. Loud and persistent and really annoying. I posed the question on Facebook – what could that sound be? A few people said mice, a few others said bats. Great. Bats. Just what I need fluttering around in the attic. I called a critter removal service. He went through the attic and under the house and remarked how surprised he was that I didn’t have any signs of critters anywhere. He said he might hear a slight noise but he wasn’t able to pinpoint it.

Ear plugs didn’t work and even with a pillow over my head I could still faintly make out the sound.

For every Facebook post there’s a joker. A smart-ass or wise-guy who thinks they’re being funny or cute. There was one post in the Facebook thread and it said – ‘tinnitus?’

Ticked me off.

Then I considered the possibility.

I made an appointment with my ear doctor. She told me my ears were full of fluid and that the hum, rushing sound and flutter were all signs of a form of tinnitus. I always thought tinnitus was the ringing sound. I never knew it could be everything from a hum to a flutter and every bit as annoying. She prescribed an additional antihistamine, antibiotic ear drops and a Lipo-flavonoid to help cure the symptoms. Two days later, the sounds were gone.

So, it’s embarrassing to admit I spent all that money on having the place checked out. Next time, I should just call my ear doctor.

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