I was in Leicester when I heard the ship’s horn.
(Geographical point: Leicester is a far from the sea as it is possible to get in Britain.)
I jumped out of my skin.
Heart beating fast, I did a quick check.
There were no ships sailing along the road.
Turning away from the window, I heard it again.
Where was that ship’s horn coming from?
Heart beating less fast now, I remembered a crucial fact:
I can’t hear.
Tinnitus is defined on the NHS website as: hearing noises that do not come from an outside source.
As well as being one of the most difficult words to lipread (that one’s from me, not the NHS), tinnitus is often – but not always – linked to hearing loss.
Shame I wasn’t aware of that when the ship didn’t sail down the road.
In 2019, 10% of the UK population experienced tinnitus, a figure which will have increased.
Some experience tinnitus intermittently, some more frequently, some constantly.
I am fortunate. My tinnitus ship sails, yes, but it’s intermittent.
Some people experience tinnitus all the time.
They never get a break from it.
Tinnitus might sound like ringing, or banging, or screeching, or….
How do I cope with my tinnitus, which – I emphasise – is not severe?
I try different things.
I will it to go away, which only seems to make it more determined to stick around.
I try to set music to its rhythm, but it plays an irregular rhythm, which I become convinced it’s doing on purpose, so I get annoyed with it, on top of the annoyance that it’s there in the first place, which only serves to encourage it to make its presence felt.
In short, I don’t particularly cope with it, I wait for it to pass.
And – I emphasise again – I am fortunate that it does pass.
I recently came upon a little gem of a book.
Written by Lisa Bristow, it is called ‘Love Jesus: Letters of Divine Hope for Tinnitus Sufferers’.
Lisa knows, far more than I do, what it is like to live with tinnitus.
Here is the blurb from the back cover:
Love Jesus: Letters of Divine Hope for Tinnitus Sufferers provides words of wisdom and comfort for anyone struggling with tinnitus. Set out as a series of letters, the book imagines what Jesus might say to us at those points in our tinnitus journey when we struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Each letter is accompanied by an illustrated quote from scripture that demonstrates the hope that God offers to each and every one of us….
The book is beautifully presented, in a very readable way.
Whether or not you experience tinnitus, I think you’ll find blessing in its pages.
I know I did.
The illustrated verses, alongside the short letters, speak to the heart.
As you read, even if you have your equivalent of a ship’s horn holding a party in your head, I believe this book offers peace to your mind and soul.
You can order a copy from Lisa’s website: https://faithhopetinnitus.com/