Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Buzz-Buzz-Buzz, Buzz in the Eardrum


Pronounced either TIN-it-us or tin-NIGHT-us, the word refers, loosely, to the subjective perception of a ringing sound in the ears, pretty effectively demonstrated by this PSA. I've suffered from it, as best as I can remember, since I was at least 13 years old, and although for me the volume of the ringing isn't as bad as the example in the PSA, I have to deal with a half dozen or so different frequencies. I tend not to think about them while engaged in normal every day activities, but I truly have no conception of the word "quiet".

There's no cure, though of course you hear all sorts of quack remedy claims, from herbal, to acupuncture, to homeopathy (but, then again, what ailment doesn't a swig of purified water cure?), to the truly bizarre. The American Tinnitus Association maintains a resolute optimism that we are at least on the right path to a cure. Yippee!

Medical science had a big breakthrough with the germ theory of disease, but since then, has there really been much appreciable progress in the field? Sure, they're better at cutting people up without killing them, and people know to wash their hands before they handle food - and we can't discount medicine's adoption of the double-blind study - but beyond that, aren't today's doctors essentially similar to their witch doctor precursors, telling their patients to take this or that magic elixir and call them in the morning?

Maybe I'm being too cynical, here, but I can't shake off the feeling that I'm going to be listening to these damned bells for a long, long time coming.

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