The Sound the Universe Makes Is Really Just Tinnitus

by Tina Blue
July 23, 2000

          A lot of people, even those with no hearing impairment, have tinnitus. Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or whistling in the ear or as a whooshing sound, although it can take other forms (more on that in a minute).

          Many people with tinnitus find it distracting, and some are seriously troubled by it. It has been suggested that Vincent van Gogh might have had Meniere's disease (for an explanation of Meniere's, click here ), which has as one of its symptoms pronounced tinnitus, often accompanied by a sense of pressure in the ear. (Some doctors believe that might be why he cut off his ear.) There are stories of people who were so frantic to be rid of their constant tinnitus that they actually committed suicide over it.

          Of course, I suspect those people might have had other issues besides just the tinnitus.

          Because I have Meniere's disease, I have tinnitus. In fact, I have had it for as long as I can remember. My tinnitus is usually a very loud whistling or ringing sound. On a couple of occasions a strange buzzing added itself to the mix as well. I must admit that I was rather distracted when that happened, because I did not realize at first that what I was hearing actually was just another form of tinnitus. I thought the buzzing was coming from somewhere in the room, and I kept stopping in the middle of conversation to try to discover the source of the noise, much to the consternation of everyone else, since only I could hear it.

          But my ringing/whistling tinnitus has been a part of my life for so long that I feel quite comfortable with it.

          Actually, I feel more than comfortable with it. I like it and would not want to be without it.

     Let me tell you why.

          As a little girl, a fairly eccentric little girl in many ways, I fantasized that the sounds I heard, which no one else was able to hear, were actually coded messages from some higher-level being: sometimes it was a god from one of the Greek myths, which I read passionately; sometimes it was an alien from another galaxy trying to make contact with any member of another species highly evolved enough to receive and understand the message.

          So I would try to listen carefully enough to decode the message. I would concentrate very hard, and try to listen through the veil of sound to whatever lay on the other side. In the process, I frequently put myself into a light hypnotic trance, which I enjoyed tremendously.

          Even now, if I want to achieve deep relaxation, I listen to my tinnitus. By doing so, I can immediately produce the oceanic wave of relaxation that accompanies light trance. It's a great technique to have at my disposal.

          But about three months ago, I developed another form of tinnitus. I still have my old friend the ringing/whistling tinnitus, but it has been joined by a warm, comfortable sort of hum, which sometimes gets loud enough to actually drown out (or just distract me completely from noticing) the ringing/whistling tinnitus. Sometimes I even have to exert some effort to find my "normal" tinnitus beneath or behind my new tinnitus.

          The new sound is wonderfully rich and resonant, and it works at least as well as the old one for helping me to achieve the state of light trance. In fact, it often works far better.

       But a few weeks ago I realized something about this new tinnitus and its effectiveness in helping me to achieve trance.

          It sounds like
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