The way we whirr / Betwixt, be tween

Anatomical drawing of ear with many delicate fragile structures in there
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Today: Flaming Hydra welcomes new member Ana Marie Cox, columnist at The New Republic and MSNBC and co-host of Space the Nation; and Shirley Wang, writer and managing editor of Flaming Hydra.

Issue No. 98

Noise Machine
Ana Marie Cox

Dumb Asian Smart Blonde
Shirley Wang

Noise Machine

by Ana Marie Cox

Last summer, my brain broke so hard that I heard the voice of God. But weeks before God spoke to me, I heard a buzz.

I first heard it late at night, low-frequency, almost a purr. I thought it might be the train that runs a few blocks from my house. But no. It didn’t waver or fade. I turned off the ceiling fan, but that only stilled the air. So, it’s the HVAC, running high to keep the Texas heat at bay. Can’t turn that off. I wasn’t worried. I started to notice the whispery static during the day now, too; it faded when I turned my attention to something else.

But at night I was wakeful, agitated. I didn’t know it then, but it would be September before I slept through the night again. I ordered ear buds advertised specifically to stay in when you tossed and turned, but out they fell at the slightest jostle. The noise was getting louder, too. I began to suspect that it was in my head; it was coming from inside my ears, not outside them.

I Googled “tinnitus” but within minutes, stopped clicking.  The top sponsored results offered cures ranging from ear plugs to supplements to hypnosis. Academic journals and science publications exploded the claims of the horde of hucksters: There is no cure for tinnitus, just management, and 50 million Americans have it. I refused to believe I could be one of them.

It’s a paywall, but a small one

Read this post and get our weekdaily newsletter for $3 a month