The Buzz, the Roar and the Fight for Sleep.
Over the last few weeks the humming has been louder. Recently it has woken me, and once awake I'd lie there listening; in the quiet of the middle of the night the sound seemed loud enough to make the inside my head pulsate. I'd get up, walk around in the darkness and hope it would go. To distract myself I'd switch on my computer and search the internet for cures. Instead I read of stories of whistles, of buzzes, of people moving house, being driven mad, even yearning for the eternal final quietness instead of this hell that accompanies whatever they do. It made me feel lucky that mine was only discernible at night, and quiet enough to be drowned out by the hum of my ordinary activities during the day.
The causes, apparently, are many: blood in some artery that comes too close, ear wax on the eardrum, infection of the inner and middle ear, stress and anxiety, malfunctions of the eustachian tubes (the small tubes that connects the ear to the nose), tumours (rare), a hereditary condition, and an odd side-effect of age-related deafness.
On Thursday I went to the doctor and he ruled out my favoured (because that is easily rectified) diagnosis: ear-wax . Instead he told me to make an appointment with the audiologist at the practice, so I shall have my hearing tested when I come back from China. In the meantime I am inhaling aromatic oils (because Hodmandod Senior is convinced it is something to do with my eustachian tubes) and going to sleep with the aid of 'pink noise' downloaded from the web into my ipod. This works well although the earphones make my ears sore after a few hours.