Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Do you hear the Ringing??? Some of you do and hopefully most of you don't!

You don't hear it do you? - even though it goes on 24 hours a day - 7 days a week in my head - even though there is no sound.  You see, I have a disease called Tinnitus and it is aggravating and very difficult to describe.  As a child I believed that the sound I was hearing was normal, (I figured everyone must have the same thing; and all it was was the sound of the electricity flowing through your brain.  Since, not everyone has it, I guess it means I have some faulty wires - maybe some insulation falling off or something just not working right.

Tinnitus comes from the Latin word tinnītus which means ringing.  How clever.  It is further defined as the perception of sound within the human ear (ringing) when no actual sound is present.  For some reason, this tinnitus is not considered a disease, but a condition that can result from numerous causes, including neurological damage, ear infections, was build up, foreign objects in the ear, and exposure to loud noises.  Here's a picture of what one artist suggested it sounds like... 

Up until recently there have been no know cures for tinnitus.  If it was making you sleepless, they could give you sleeping pills, if it made you nervous they could prescribe a pill for that.  Also I can say for sure the method I am demonstrating here....had no effect whatsoever. 

I think I can track my tinnitus sound back to about 1959 or 1960, when I was 5 or 6 years old.  My Dad was anxious to make a true Texan out of me and bought me a "Little Scout" 22 rim fire rifle as a birthday present.  Make no mistake....this was real gun....with real bullets....it was just cut down to a size that a little kid like me could handle it reasonably well.  Dad versed me in all the normal safety point of using any firearm.  - Never point the gun at anyone.  The gun is always loaded.  Keep the gun pointed toward the ground when it is loaded.  Here is the safety.  Keep the safety on until you are ready to shoot.  Dad, having been a U.S Marine, and every Marine a rifleman....plus all of his experience growing up in Northeast Texas - he knew all the safety stuff......almost. 

A couple of things were missing - first and foremost - some form of ear protection - but I don't think Marines of Dad's era believed in that "sissy stuff".  (after this is gets a bit technical - you can skip that by going to:  After the Blast In MY FACE!

A second thing that we should have been on the look-out for was the "rolling block" on that Steven's Little Scout 22.  The Steven's Little Scout was primarily met for firing 22 "shorts"...rather than the newer 22 long rifle shells.  The rolling block, served both as a "safety", preventing accidently firing - and when rolled fully into place - it served as part of the firing chamber.  See below...

Now if you look closely, the hammer sits right behnd the "rolling block".  The rolling block sits right behind the barrel where the live cartridge is placed.  On occaision, especially with a well used gun - the rolling block does not roll up to the top of the barrell and fully cover the cartridge.  When this happens and the gun is fired - hot gun powder will rip through the base of the cartridge and fly into the shooters face.  Along with it comes a really sharp blast of sound.   Well that's what hit me.  Burning Gun Powder and Seering sound right in the face and ears. 
So after firing this gun....at the age of 5.....as far as I know my ears have rang every sense.  It sounds really weird when you are underwater diving or snorkeling.  But it is still going on now today almost 54 years since the "early shooting lesson". 
Recently, treatment has been developed for this "condition" - it relies on a technique develped by Dr. Bose of "The Bose Speaker Company" which determines the frequency (wave length) of the sound you are hearing and immediately provides a sound of the opposite wavelenth - when the wave's collide they cancel one another out.  
I am going on Monday - to have tests and possible treatment.  I can't really imagine what my life might be like if my ears didn't ring all day and all night.  We'll see.  Wish me luck - I'd love to hear the Sounds of Silence.
All the best...


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