My name is Janie, and I am a history professor at the University of Kentucky. Today, I want to teach you about tinnitus.
Most people know tinnitus as a ringing in your ears, and you might have had at some point in your life.
Maybe you had a really bad ear infection, or maybe you listened to your music too loud when you were a teenager.
Tinnitus could mean nothing. It can also be the sign of a brain tumor (according to webMD), or you might Ménière's disease, like myself.
What they don’t tell you about the noise you hear, is that it can often be heard as more than just a ringing sound. My own grandmother described it as a "wooshing or ocean roaring" sound.
Meniere’s disease is often genetic, so I blame her for the problems I’ve had with it. She’s dead after all, so I don’t think she’ll mind.
Meniere’s messes with your balance and the pressure in your ears, it also is known by its main symptom, tinnitus, the near constant ringing. It often will cause hearing loss in patients as well.
Doesn’t that just sound pleasant?
As of now there is no known cure for Ménière's Disease, nor does anyone know what exactly causes it. There is only treatments, and limited research on how they work.
The treatments range from medication that you can take for the vertigo (Like my sweet love Dramamine, how you make my life worth living), to steroid injections into your ears.
However, I noticed something strange. What starts as the high pitch ringing sound most of us are familiar with thanks to television and movies (the hero walking away from an explosion), slowly transforms over time.
I originally just blamed the Ménière's for the noise.
I would get irritable thinking that mine or my husband’s phone would be going off, when it wasn’t.
The high pitch screech would come on suddenly, and I swear that it physically hurt! It felt as if I was being smacked in the ear, and the dizziness would accompany it.
It happens with no warning, and I always flinch violently and clasp my hands over my ears. If anyone notices I play it off afterwards, but my strong physical reaction has always worried me.
What if it happened while I was driving? I try not to think about it. Anyway, it happens quite often now, especially when I’m in a quiet room by myself. It us as if the noise knows when I'm alone.
The physical reaction has gotten worse lately. A few days ago I ended up in the fetal position, with tears pouring down my face, with my hands over my ears.
It’s not a ringing that I am hearing after all! The sound only appears when we are temporary deafened (but still have the ability to process sound). That sound? It’s screaming.
Oh, it’s no ghost, ghoul, or spirit. This ain’t Scooby-Doo.
It comes from above, that why those that are particularly sensitive to it, like newborn babies often show distress with no cause, and why they find the white noise soothing. White noise blocks out the screaming.
At least temporarily.
I don't suffer from an inner ear condition at all!! It’s a sensitivity to what those around us don’t want to recognize! Heed my warning while you can friends. I knew that you would believe me.
The screams that make me dizzy, and hurt my ears are not coming from an angry ghost from my past, or zombie in the ground.
They aren’t even coming from Earth, they are coming from far, far beyond our sky.
It has taken them a very long time to get here, and that is why tinnitus is only recorded in recent medical history (trust me I’ve looked).
As they slowly reach the border of our galaxy, more and more of us are literally floored by the sound. I am not crazy, so I will not stand on the street with a sign warning the population.
Instead I will send out this warning to you, although I do not know how you can even begin to prepare.
That scream? It’s a war cry.