Whose Ears Ring?

For as long as I can remember, I have had occasional, spontaneous ringing in the ears (not connected to hearing any loud noise or any other source outside my body). The ringing has never been a problem for me. I assumed that it was just a fact of life, and that every hearing person experiences it sometimes, even in the absence of any loud external noise.

In high school, I learned the medical term for this is tinnitus, and that only about 1 in 5 Americans experience it without it being connected to hearing a particularly loud noise. I said something about it to my father – who has been experiencing ear issues since before I was born – and he was surprised that I was experiencing it at such a young age (tinnitus is more common among older people).

As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, like my father and grandfather, I have Ear Issues (and it is almost certainly not a coincidence that all three of us have ear issues, though so far my father’s ear issues are not as severe as my grandfather’s were at the same age). Though the tinnitus itself is too mild to be an Ear Issue, it is most likely caused by an Ear Issue.

It occurred to my just today (when I’m writing this post, which is days before the day this post is being published) that discovering something which you thought almost everybody experienced is, in fact, a minority experience, is like assuming that everyone experiences a similar level of sexual attraction as yourself, only to find that most people don’t.

Both ringing in the ears and experiencing sexual attraction (or sexual desire, for that matter) are exclusively personal experiences that only the person experiencing them (or not) can really know whether they are happening (or not).

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