And then it rained
When I was 22 years old, I went out with some friends to a nightclub. I was in my first year of medical school. Like most people my age, I wasn’t concerned with noise trauma (despite being a medical student). The next day, I noticed the ringing in my ears wasn’t gone. I started to research tinnitus. I became panicked – what if the ringing never went away? Every day, I hoped and prayed that it’d go away.
Except it didn’t.
I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t concentrate in class. I couldn’t even write a test without feeling like I was going insane. I felt like I was being slowly driven to madness. The sound was unbearable. I felt constantly anxious – it was like a fire alarm constantly going off in my head. I immediately understand the (likely apocryphal) tale of Van Gogh slicing his ear off due his tinnitus pushing him beyond the brink.
Probably about a month in, I started to realize that I wasn’t going to have a spontaneous resolution of my tinnitus. I realized that I was going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. I hadn’t had a moment of silence in around thirty or so days.
Studying in the library, I had to give up, because it was impossible to concentrate on what I was reading. I started to walk home from campus, taking one of Hamilton’s grimy side streets.
And then it rained.
It started to rain so hard that the droplets of water were exploding at my feet like tiny little mines.
And yet – all I could hear – instead of the constant ringing – was the constant downpour of rain, that glorious sound of water rustling against the concrete, a beautiful, natural sound that drowned out the constant high pitched tinnitus tone that had been driving me insane.
I took my time walking home that day. When I finally got home, I was completely soaked, but it didn’t matter, because for the first time in a month, I caught myself smiling.