52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it....

Regular readers may recall that I have something of an obsessive streak (this streak frankly bordered on mania recently when I was fretting about practically invisible scratching on my glasses). I’ve pretty much made my peace with my glasses, but I’m afraid my brain always seems to be searching for the next thing to fret about… that’s the funny thing… I know that I am probably obsessing about nothing, but for some reason that doesn’t make the distress any less real. Anyway…

I thought I’d share my latest worries with you all – partly as therapy, but mostly for your amusement at how ridiculous I am.

I went to see The Hives the other week at Rock City. As Damo remarked when he saw them in Bristol, they were especially loud. Really, almost hurting loud, and when I got home, I was very aware of how I had been standing closer to one speaker stack than the other – the ringing in my ears was distinctly lopsided. As I always do after I have been to a concert, I idly wondered how long it would take the ringing in my ears to wear off, and speculated about one day the ringing never would.

Can you see where my brain is about to take me?

The ringing wore off in a few days and I didn’t think anything more of it. Then about a week ago, I detected a faint whistle in my ears. Very faint – the kind you can only really hear when you are lying in bed with no distracting noises around you to tune it out. I don’t know about you, but I always hear a faint whistle off electrical products like TVs and computers, so over the course of the last week or so, I have been busily trying to work out if I was genuinely hearing a ringing in my ears, or if it was some kind of electrical noise.

Definitely ringing.

This starts the frets (conveniently ignoring the fact that when I was in the red centre of Australia in January, where it's REALLY quiet at night, I had remarked to C. how I could hear the workings of my body... and it hadn't worried me at all then).

Have I got tinnitis? Have I permananently damaged my hearing? Was it when I was in the gym the other day listening to my Ipod at the normal volume (i.e. pretty loud). I start doing things like turning my radio down in the car (in case I make it worse) and generally worrying about the state of my hearing… reaching the point where every time I notice the whistle, my heart skips a beat, and I start imagining my hearing is declining day by day, to the extent that every time I miss what someone is saying, I wonder if it is because I have finally gone deaf. I wonder how Steve Lamacq (who said on the radio the other day that he still goes to 2 or 3 gigs a week looking for the next big thing) manages… surely he must be as deaf as a post? I've got some gigs coming up soon (interpol, snow patrol, the kings of leon, ahem... the darkness)... should I be doing more to protect my ears? (I go to Boots and buy some ear plugs).

All this fretting is pretty stressful.

Then yesterday I decided that not only was the whistling in my ear getting a little bit worse, but that actually one of my ears was now pretty blocked up.

Hang on a minute…. That doesn’t sound like tinnitis.

Ah yes – I’ve just got a cold coming on and it’s affecting my ears. A fact confirmed when C. (who is snuffling quite badly at the moment) tells me that she’s got the same thing.

The sense of relief is positively euphoric.

I am definitely mental. Feel free to have a chuckle (he says, looking shamelessly for sympathy)


  • At 1:07 pm, Blogger LB said…

    There seems to be this annoying bug type thing going round which you categorically can't get rid of. It makes you about 50% less ill than the old "heavy cold" used to but it stays in your system for weeks and weeks instead.

    You just spend weeks on end feeling "not 100%" which, after a while, becomes very tiring indeed.

    tinnitis? you clown.

  • At 1:15 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Well, Steve Lamacq's autobiography is called "Going Deaf For A Living"...

  • At 4:27 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    I saw a thing where Billy Connolly spent some time in the Arctic- he said it was the quietest place he'd ever been, which on the one hand was very nice, but on the other made him almost painfully aware of the fact that he's had a very quiet ringing (but a ringing nonetheless) in his years for years.

    I worry I'm going a bit deaf all the time - I can hear things sometimes that Katie can't pick up at all (A text message delivering in another room, a cat purring in another village, that kind of thing) and then sometimes I can't hear what she just said to me and she's right beside me.

    Like you though, I also spend most of the time looking for something to worry about.

  • At 7:30 pm, Blogger Miss Mish said…

    Ahh, now I'm off to Morohead this month and I can state quite firmly that Ear Plugs Do Help. You're still a bit deaf if you're a moshpit afficionado but it cuts out on all the damaging stuff.
    You stop saying 'Pardon?' by lunchtime the next day.

  • At 10:16 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Apparently, you can get earplugs called Slikplugs for about a tenner. They reduce noise significantly, but for all frequencies - so you don't get the muffling effect of standard earplugs. A journalist put a pair in, then went to see (ahem) Raging Speedhorn, and stood by the speakers. Left the gig, took them out - ears weren't ringing.

  • At 4:47 pm, Blogger Ted Demopoulos said…

    I used to see about 200-250 live shows a year (before children!) and earplugs become a necessity.

    There are a few types made that equally attenuate all frequencies but I honestly never found that much difference. The best I found were called "Earwear" from mailorder somewhere in California, but the cheap ones from the neighborhood drugstore were OK too.

    That said, despite a love of music, I border on tone deaf like parents and grandparents too!


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