Jun 272012

I have tinnitus. Some call it "ringing in the ears", but that's just too cute a description for such a horrible affliction. A parakeet's bell, wind chimes, little silver dinner bells…

Some describe their tinnitus as crickets in a field, or chirping frogs, or a constant wind. How pastoral. Not.

Some describe it as musical tones or electric humming. How melodic.

But for some of us, it's like a jet engine revving up and down in our ears, from the left, the right, and both ears at once. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month… We can barely hear through the noise. We're deafened by a racket you can't hear at all, and we have no way to turn it off.

It makes me a little testy at times. I've approximated what I hear into this video's soundtrack to give you an idea why.

Tinnitus is a relentless sound that only the sufferer can hear. And don't say you sympathize unless you actually have it. Sympathy requires some degree of understanding, and you just wouldn't understand unless it happens to you.

It keeps us awake at night because we can't turn it off, and "masking" it only means trying to drown it out with more noise. It blocks out the sounds of birds chirping and cats purring and babies cooing and lovers whispering. It makes us incompetent on the phone and clumsy in face to face conversations. We can't think straight. Our heads hurt. Our stress level skyrockets and our immune system crashes. We get confused, and we can't remember simple things. We pound our heads and pull at our ears in frustration. We're nudged closer and closer to the edge of sanity by the relentless noise.

You know why Van Gogh cut off his ear? Yep, tinnitus.

How many suicides are the result of tinnitus? How many diagnoses of madness, Alzheimer's, ADHD, autism, etc. are actually tinnitus? How many developmentally challenged children have tinnitus? How many divorces are caused by tinnitus? How many homeless are on the streets because of tinnitus? Authorities can't hear the noise, so they probably don't even consider the possible tinnitus factor.

Doctors can't help. I don't think they really try. There are known causes for a fraction of the cases: brain tumour, auditory neuropathy, Menier's disease, hearing trauma, drug side effects… but for many of us, they don't know the cause and they sure don't know the solution. Yeah, plenty of "sure-fire" cures are offered – mostly by CHARLATANS who prey on the desperation of the afflicted. But nothing cures tinnitus.

Management is the best anybody can offer. Smoke and mirrors to trick your mind to look – or rather, listen – elsewhere. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, melatonin, copious amounts of alcohol, relaxation tapes, white noise, expensive customized hearing aids – anything to help get us through the next hour and to possibly give us a decent night's sleep.

Doctors say that tens of millions of North Americans have tinnitus – which is true – but the very statement is a cold, callous dismissal of our condition as if the sheer number of victims is supposed to make any single one of us feel any better. Maybe we have to wait for enough doctors to get tinnitus before there's serious research into this affliction.

And maybe a forward-thinking researcher will look into possible causes like stress, wifi, chemicals in our water, GMO foods, untested vaccinations forced on us, smart meters, allergies, cell phone radiation – or how about all of the above? I'd give it all up and live in a cave just to get rid of this infuriating noise. You would, too.

Sometimes the noises stop all by themselves. Rarely. But until it happens to you, it's an elusive dream.

I'm offering no solution here. There are none. But you'd think with the motivation of curing a condition that afflicts hundreds of millions of people in the world – not to mention winning a Nobel Prize in medicine – some doctor somewhere would try to figure this out.

Meanwhile, you now have a clue why some people may seem a bit cranky or distracted at times, a bit less polite, less tactful, less patient.

It might even explain the trolls on YouTube.

Parting thought: how would you sleep if this was all you heard at night? …

Shaidle – Five Feet of Fabulous Fury – and FUN!

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Apr 092011

Tuesday’s show kicked-off with Kathy “Five Feet of Fury” Shaidle from Ontario, RKR tackled Ontario’s newest cultural phenomenon: Toronto’s “SlutWalk“.
“Their message,” said Shaidle, “is: ‘We can dress any way we want, and there should be zero consequences’.”
She recalled an incident a couple of years ago in downtown Toronto, when she and an elderly lady, with a handful people from the Jewish Defence League, confronted about 3,000 Muslims, screaming “Death to the Jews!”
Terry O’Neill said “SlutWalk” is just part of a general vulgarization of the culture.
“It’s a power issue,” he said. “They want to show the sexual power they have.”
The “SlutWalk” in Toronto–in which many women dressed very provocatively, asserting the right to do so without attracting unwanted male attentions–arose after a Toronto policeman, speaking at York University, told young co-eds they could lessen the risk of rape if they did not dress “like a slut.”
“They best way to avoid anything like that [i.e., rape] is for us to allow ‘concealed carry’ in Canada,” Shaidle said.
[Thirty-eight states in the USA have passed laws that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons for self-defence, if they don’t have criminal records or a certifiable mental illness, and have passed a firearms safety course; all those states have experienced declines in violent crime.]
One listener e-mailed: “The problem starts in academia.” That triggered Shaidle to state: “I was smart enough not to go to university; it was the best decision I ever made… The pressure on academics is the demand to publish; you have to come up with new things like ‘Abe Lincoln was secretly gay’.”
This remark reminded Terry O’Neill of a feature he had created for Ezra Levant’s now-defunct newsmagazine Western Standard: “The Nuttiest Professor”.
Kari Simpson interjected: “We’ve made an industry of keeping universities in demand… do we really need university courses on how to care for toddlers?”
Shaidle agreed: “We’ve made a business of credentialing everything… It’s an aspect of our ‘paperwork society’… entrepreneurship is punished by the people who don’t have what it takes to be entrepreneurs–that’s why they work in government–and we tell our kids, ‘Just go along with whatever the professor says… just shut up and go along, and get your credentials.”
“My prediction,” she added, “is that ten years from now there’ll be municipal funding for an annual SlutWalk day; then it’ll go to SlutWalk week, and then SlutWalk month, just like they did for ‘Gay Pride’.”
Terry O’Neill quoted Rudyard Kipling’s poem The gods of the copy-book headings (the title refers to the conventional mottoes that were printed at the top of every page in schoolboys’ “copy-books” when Kipling was in school a century ago):
” ‘In the end, the gods of the copybook headings, with terror and slaughter, will return.’–meaning that traditional morality always re-asserts itself; and the more energetically society tries to repress it, the more violently it will return.
“Ted Byfield has been using that for four decades,” Terry recalled.
Shaidle noted: “So-called ‘intellectual’ liberals in the United States mocked Glenn Beck as a ‘lousy poet’ when he quoted that; Kipling won a Nobel Prize for it, but they didn’t even recognize it.”
Because we lack poets of that calibre today, Shaidle said, she often quotes stand-up comics in her blog, Five Feet of Fury.com:
“Comedians are the court jesters of our culture; they can say the things that no one else can get away with.”

Check-out RKR’s interview with Kathie Shaidle’s here!!
Shaidle classic – Why Slutwalk is worse than burning the Koran here