Musical Ear

The weekend is here and I can’t believe tomorrow already begins July. The summer has a way of flying by. True to the nature of typical July weather, it’s going to be quite hot this weekend. I anticipate some particularly tough times sleeping and sweaty afternoons in front of a fan. However, while this sounds like complaining, and it is to some degree, I still enjoy summer and this weekend should be no exception.

Last night was a terrible night of sleep. I was so nauseous that I threw up and my joint pain was too intense that even after taking a couple Tylenol, which I use as sparingly as possible, the throbbing was so intense that when my eyelids were closed, the “screen” of the backside of them flashed bright red with every heart beat like an alarm. My allergies were also bothering me because I mowed the yard and freed all the pollens, spores, and allergens that cause itchiness and a stuffy nose. The bedroom was hot; thus, it was especially uncomfortable to be scratching my hot skin and breathing with a wheeze.

I’ve noticed another problem that I’m planning to discuss with my doctor in two weeks at my check-up. I don’t have any sort of auditory hallucinations or hear voices that don’t exist. However, I have an issue with white noise and because I’m not sure if it’s serious or indicative of a hallucination disorder like schizophrenia, I’m impossibly anxious and upset about it. I’m hearing music in white noise. When a fan is on, or the air conditioner, or my white noise machine, I often hear phantom melodies. It’s especially likely to occur if multiple of these white noise generators are operating simultaneously. Then, it seems, different frequencies pop out and create a tonal interplay that sounds like a simple tune. It sounds pleasant but it drives me insane. I’m partially crazed by it because it makes me panic that there’s something seriously wrong with my brain (inventing sounds and songs that aren’t actually happening), and I’m partially driven mad by it because the “song” is always brief and repeats over and over. Much like it would be annoying to hear someone sing the same two or three bars of music over and over without reprieve, so too is it hair-pullingly irksome to hear the continual endless looping over the same notes or chords in whatever rhythm and pitches my brain has ascribed to the white noise all night. The only escape is to turn off the fans or air conditioner, but that’s simply not workable from a temperature standpoint.

I’ve never heard of anyone complaining of this phantom musical problem and I’m too gun shy to Google my health problems now. Perhaps it’s common or an autism thing; even if it is “normal,” I hope there’s something to do for it because my auditory defensiveness (inability to tolerate repetitive noises) from sensory processing disorder makes me miserable and unable to calm down when it occurs. The longer it goes on, the more engrained the tune becomes and the less I’m able to hear anything else or “erase” the song. Even if I do try to change the noise by adding or removing a fan for example, my brain gets stuck replaying what had been happening for so long. It truly becomes inescapable–just like a real song or annoying jingle can get caught in one’s head, so too, apparently, can fake, imagined songs! Yikes!

As with all sensory problems, the longer the offensive stimuli persists, the hotter and more irritated I become, both emotionally and physically. (My body becomes restless, bothered, tense, and overheated. My head begins to hurt and my skin feels sore, like it’s been sunburned.)

I certainly hope there’s nothing seriously wrong with my brain. This concern has been eating away at me for a couple months now. My doctor in Connecticut has my full trust and I am nervous, but eager, to discuss this problem with him. He may look at me like I’m totally crazy (let’s face it, I sort of am!), but I’m praying he has some idea of what I’m talking about and isn’t as alarmed or concerned as I am. In two weeks, I’ll know either way.

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