October 25, 2022•474 words
My auditory system latches on to speech while missing silence and unable to enjoy music as before. Podcasts, guided meditations, and youtube all provide distraction away from tinnitus. How do spoken words (even in the background) impact the connection between the auditory and limbic systems?
With sound always present in my ear, using available media sources seems no brainier to distract. Over the first three months, this method, although not perfect, seemed to support tinnitus management, and then it didn't. Listening to words and sentences takes energy; they can tire the ears and place the limbic system into a state of "frequency to information" energy exchange. I have become tired of absorbing knowledge and opinion, adding to the dopaminergic need from algorithmic internet feeds. I became aware that what I was listening to places me into a sense of "doing", "indignation", or "judgement". These distractions took away tinnitus while also stealing my limbic system's ability to find stillness to the point that ambient nature sounds used for sleep became a chore.
My core sources of Treble Health and Julian Gower-Hill talk of sound therapy and neuroplasticity. I was attempting to use the former in isolation, e.g. bedtime only, leaving the rest of the day subject to internet algorithmic input likely base on my moods and sounds of the loud city. I am not surprised I have been living in the top half of my head for three months. The brain's ability to adapt need stillness, allowing the subconscious to observe new pathways toward peace.
Accessing sound via the internet and mobile device is convenient, but it comes with algorithms, dopamine and unconscious choices. Time provides my auditory system with something neutral to latch onto during the day, something I can choose.
My white noise machine arrived—a simple portable device with around 40 sounds. I switched off my mobile phone and TV in rebellion against my past efforts; I began cycling through the menu on the machine; light piano, chimes, seascapes, rain, thunder, and brooks softy produce from the speaker met my ears. Landing on a seascape sound, Immediately, my mind returns to memories of a peaceful childhood in Scotland. I sat breathing in time with the waves; for over 15 minutes, I felt tension move from my head into and away from my body. Things felt still. I wept, I released.
Encouraged in my stillness, I left the machine running while I performed some stretching, cooked a meal, read a book and wrote this post. It replaced my silence for peace rather than the noise and distraction of the internet. My tinnitus remains, but finding my pathway to habituate is not about ignoring it; it's about giving myself time, space and compassion toward the stillness that the mind, body and soul need.
Words are constructs of thought. Natural sound is the construct of being.