Tinnitus lets me hear my heart

by Thomas Beutel

I’ve had a form of tinnitus for as long as I can remember. I don’t know why I have it. Genetic perhaps? Inner ear damage? Too many fevers as a kid? I don’t know.

But it isn’t the type of tinnitus that is at all distracting. In fact I don’t really hear it unless I pay attention to it. And what I do hear is the pulsing of my heart. Normally it’s just a very quiet shhhhh, shhhhh. If I am exercising, it’s more like a higher pitched sizzle sizzle. No matter what the pace or the pitch, it’s always there.

And for me, that’s quite comforting. I can hear how my heart is doing. I know it seems weird, but I’ve had some episodes of palpitations (yes, I’ve seen the doctor about them) and I can hear the palpitations. More importantly I can hear when the beats go back to normal.

So I’ll be sticking with my tinnitus. I think of it as my auxiliary internal heart monitor.