I think I might have tinnitus.
(I was googling it and I guess “patients and laypersons” pronounce it “tin-EYE-tus” while “clinicians and researchers” pronounce it “TIN-ih-tus.” I hate to ever be lumped in with the laypersons so I’ve been pronouncing it TIN-ih-tus in my head and for purposes of writing this, but when I say it out loud it sounds so pretentious that I revert to tin-EYE-tus.)
Tinnitus is “ringing in the ears,” although it can also be described as “hissing, static, crickets, screeching, whooshing, roaring, pulsing, ocean waves, buzzing, dial tones, even music.” Luckily mine isn’t as annoying – it’s just like a lowkey dial tone. Sometimes it’s stronger, sometimes it’s quieter. But I was clicking through the sample sounds on this webpage and the eighth one – “Roaring” – kinda hit home for me.
My (possible) tinnitus might help explain why I feel like I’ve been saying “Wait, what?” more frequently. When I’m trying to listen through a closed door to see if that was a sleeping child crying out, or just something on TV, I find it annoying. But most of the time, it’s no more than mildly irritating, usually at night while I’m falling asleep. And then, it’s like my own personal white noise machine.
I hope it just hangs around like this without getting worse. I can handle a low-volume white noise machine in my head. Maybe that’s why I’m so good at sleeping. Maybe it’s a good thing, this mild roaring. It could be a lot worse. It could be “Cicada” or “7500 Hz Tone.”