What Can We Learn From Tinnitus?
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, January 18,
This will mean very little if you
do not know what Tinnitus is or how it affects those people who have it. This is what the Internet says about
Tinnitus is a physical
condition, experienced as noises or ringing (or as in my case, constant buzzing) in the ears or head when no such external
physical noise is present. Tinnitus is usually
caused by a fault in the hearing system; it is a symptom, not a disease in
I have had Tinnitus (two pronunciations,
Te-ne-tus and Ti-ni-tus, I have become accustomed to the long “i”). Either way, it is a most annoying and even
depressing malady that people experience.
The problem is that there is no known cure that gives everyone relief. Some people go their entire life without
relief. Try to imagine what it would be
like to have a constant ringing or buzzing in your head every minute of every
day. It truly is depressing.
So what have I learned from
are a lot of books on the subject.
I have read many of them.
are some over-the-counter medications available. I checked the Internet and it appears
that people who have taken such medications are very unhappy with the
results or lack thereof.
are CDs available. These are more
like guided meditation CDs. What I
like about the CDs is that they tend to put you to sleep as you
listen. That may not sound like a
big deal to people reading this but trust me, trying to fall asleep with a
constant ringing or buzzing in your ear is not easy. Plus, I discovered that the noise in my
head, the buzzing, is louder for some reason at night.
are even hearing devices available.
Way too soon to tell you that these work. I was fitted for them just a week before
I wrote this Nugget. The very first
day, the buzzing was gone. But the
next day it was back. Since I have
had them inserted, the noise seems to come and go. Believe me when I tell you that have
come to treasure those times when the noise is gone. I even have a “sound pillow” that is
connected to an iPod looking device that plays 9 different sounds I can
hear through my pillow. It actually
does help me fall asleep. Very
- None of
these treatments are guaranteed to be effective.
It is not my intention to write
this Nugget for the sole purpose of informing the public about a health issue
that affects millions of people around the world. Nor is it to garner sympathy for the Tinnitus
that I suffer with. Neither of these
reasons applies. There is another that
has come from reading the books and talking with doctors.
We all go through life with fears
of one sort or another. Fear of
rejection. Fear of speaking in public.
Fear of heights. Fear of flying. Fear of
loss. Fear of gain. Even fear of
success. This Nugget marries a potential
remedy for Tinnitus with various types of fear you may be experiencing.
How can that be you might ask, or
if you are into this Nugget, you should be asking? Example, what has Tinnitus got to do with the
Fear of heights or flying? EVERYTHING!
This is what I have come to
understand about treating Tinnitus. It
is NOT a dysfunction in the actual
hearing parts of your body. In fact if
you believe what has been printed, no one is certain from where the noise
originates or why; thus no known cure.
But is that true. If there was no
known cure, how can I go for an entire day and NOT hear the buzzing in my head.
How can I go for a week or weeks and the buzzing never stops? There is a
reason there is no noise for just that one day or even just an hour or two on any
given day because the noise is gone.
Why? So glad you asked.
My explanation will not be
scientific but will be based upon what I understand happens. Our ears are not our hearing. Our ears are canals that trigger other things
to happen and then our brain hears the noises that enter through the ear
canals. There is no way that is an a
scientific explanation; it is my explanation.
There is no external ringing or buzzing to enter the ears so where does
that noise come from? No one knows for
Yet as I have said, there are
times, short as they have been where I did not hear the buzzing in my
head. But why? Somehow I have managed to trick my brain to
where it does not hear or recognize the noise.
What a pleasant period of time that is for me and others who experience
it. How does that happen? Honestly, I’m not sure but I am definitely
working at making it happen more often than not. Therein is the “trick”, learning how to
extend those quiet periods.
The brain, yours and mine, can be
very tricky and deceptive at time. I
will be engaged in an activity. It may
be reading, writing, listening to music, working around the house, or whatever.
I will be doing something and my brain is being
occupied. It is thinking consciously
AND subconsciously about the task(s)
at hand. For example, when I am writing,
I am focused on what I am writing, what should come next, or what may have I
written that I now contradict? You can
see, the brain, my brain is busy, busy, busy.
When it is busy doing one thing,
it is almost impossible for it to be doing another. Multi-tasking is a myth. You cannot do two things at the same time
that requires thought to do each, to be able to do them both equally as well. They both WILL suffer.
Here is the brutal truth. I will enjoy some quiet minutes, hours or
even a day UNTIL the time my brain
asks the question, WHERE IS THE BUZZING? That is when it returns! But in fact, it had
never left! I have managed to distract
it from hearing the buzzing that was always there, just not front and
present. Don’t believe me? That’s okay I might not have believed it
myself if I were not experiencing it firsthand.
Ah, but then I realized something
very important. The loud noise of a
passing train is nothing that you can ignore is it? Still, there are hundreds, if not thousands
of homeowners that live adjacent to or very near railroad tracks. In all my years in the real estate business I
can tell you that I heard the same answer to a question I would pose to them
which was, how do you put up with the noise from a passing train? Their answer?
What train? They have managed to
teach their brain to just ignore the train noise. Just as I must now train my brain to ignore
the buzzing that is actually emanating from within my head, not outside like
You say you fear speaking in
public. If you are told that you must
make a speech, what are your first thoughts?
Do you think about the speech or the fact that you fear speaking in public? It is the same with any fear. Let’s take public speaking. The trick about speaking in public is to
absolutely KNOW the material you are
going to talk about. KNOW THE MATERIAL – PERIOD! Most people fear public speaking because they
fear looking silly. So it is NOT a fear of public speaking, it is a
fear of looking silly. If you KNOW the material, explain to me how
you will look silly? You won’t. My advice would then be to trick your brain. Make the brain think ONLY about the material – period! When you find the brain wandering
back to the fear of public speaking, distract it; give it a problem to solve
about the material you are to cover. For
example, ask it to think about all the questions that the audience might have
about the material being covered. Task the brain with finding the answers to
the question. It’s all about
distraction. It’s all about keeping the
brain busy. You are TRICKING YOUR BRAIN. A better way of thinking about this procedure
is that you are re-routing the thoughts the brain thinks about and in fact you
are overloading the brain with thoughts OTHER
THAN the buzzing in my year or the fear of public speaking.
The BIG QUESTION: Does it work? Eliminating the buzzing has worked for me for
short periods of time. I have to work on
making it happen more often than not.
One way is that I listen to a lot of music as I am as I write this
Nugget. I am giving my brain two jobs,
focusing on what I am writing AND
listening to good music. If the brain
had to also listen to the buzzing that would be a third task. Sometimes it
works, sometimes not so much. Still what
have you got to lose or gain by trying to distract the brain? For me – peace. For you, a good speech.
I never feared flying. In fact at one time I wanted to be a pilot.
Instead, I fear who may be sitting next to me on the plane. Ever hear that 2 out of every 3 people have
some form of mental illness? Well…you
are sitting on a plane in a row of three seats.
If the “saying” is correct and you are certain that you are not mentally
ill…surprise, the persons on either side of you ARE! If you want to fear
something, fear that! Just kidding of
course. The trick again on the plane is
to give your brain something else to think about other than the actual flight
of the plane. Read something. Better yet, STUDY the material you are going to give a speech on. Make it think. Make it solve problems. Do not let it dwell on what you don’t want to
One more thing. I retired from being a real estate broker
after 33 years. It was my experience
that brand new real estate agents had a fear of not making the sale. I cannot say why I did it only that I did and
it happened within the first 2 weeks of first becoming a license real estate
agent. When I went on a listing or sales
presentation, I would sit outside in my car and try to clear my brain of
everything. I would literally create a
blank screen and focus on that screen.
I would then start the film
rolling where I could actually see myself with the customers sitting at their
kitchen table and the customers signing the necessary contracts. When I would get that image in my head and
only then would I approach the front door.
I do not believe I was arrogant but I knew I was confident and more
importantly that I was going to get the sale.
There was no way I would ever lose the sale except for when a customer
had unrealistic expectations like a price that was so out of the proper range
and it was I that chose not to complete the sale. I just did not lose customers unless I wanted
to lose them.
I also self-studied my ass off so
I knew as much as I could possibly know about sales, relationships, real estate
law, ethics and real estate in general.
In other words, I KNEW MY STUFF! Therefore looking silly never entered my
mind. Fear of losing the sale never
entered my mind. I knew the customer
needed ME far more than I needed the
customer. Why because I KNEW MY STUFF!
Does that mean I am/was arrogant? Hell no!
It meant I was confident. There
is a big difference between arrogant and confidence. If you do not understand
what the difference is, my suggestion would be for you to hit books about your
profession. Confidence beats Luck EVERY TIME! Was I really that good? Heck no but my brain thought I was and
therein lies the entire message of this Nugget.
Your brain can be had! Learn to
teach your brain what it needs to know for when it needs to know it!