Several years back, I started noticing the sounds of music when I was putting my make-up on. I felt silly when it suddenly occurred to me that it was coming for the upstairs apartment we were renting out at the time. Our young tenant and friend loved his loud music. Relieved that I was not hearing things, I gave it no other thought--until the apartment was empty but I was still hearing music.
A very close family member is schizophrenic, so you can imagine what I immediately feared: I was truly scared--scared silent! Most of my life I knew I was not well, yet I was in my thirties before finally being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I knew the, "This one's problems are all in her head look..." all too well. Those days were finally, mostly, behind me and I was determined to keep it that way, so I remained silent--but the music did not.
I continued to hear the music almost every time I put on my make-up. I was also hearing it when I would try to go to sleep as well as when I was trying to concentrate on what people were saying to me or when trying to focus on television or movie dialogue. I was also no longer always standing in the same place when I would hear the music. It was playing in my head anytime and anywhere it pleased. Sometimes I could identify a song, other times just certain instruments. There were also times when the music would be just low enough that I could almost make out what it was, but not quite. That was especially frustrating for me.
One especially frustrating morning, I decided to take a chance. I Googled "I am hearing music when none to be heard." I am not sure what I expected exactly, but I was pretty sure it was going to involved words like mental, crazy, etc. Thankfully, I was wrong! Instead the word that came up was familiar to me but not in the vein I had expected. It was Tinnitus! "Musical Tinnitus" to be exact!
I had suffered from Tinnitus my whole life but I only knew it as ringing in my ears. I was aware that some people heard roaring, buzzing, or even whistling, but for me, it had always been just a ringing. In fact, it was rare if I did not have ringing in my hears at one degree of loudness or another. I had been told that part of it was the medications I took, but since the Tinnitus came before the meds, it was mostly identified as part of my Fibromyalgia. In fact, some statistics say as many as 75% of those with FMS also have Tinnitus.
Relieved, and with a hard copy of the information in hand, I finally told one of my doctors what I was experiencing. Thankfully we have a solid, mutually respectful relationship because the glance he gave me over the spectacles placed lowly on his nose was speculative, to say the least. "I have never heard of Musical Tinnitus!" he said. Laughing, I said that if I had not found many legitimate, reputable articles about many other people suffering from it, he still would not have heard of it--at least, not from me!
Several years have passed since my big reveal, and I have met several other people who also are hearing music where there is none to be heard. I have even had discussions about it with a couple of specialists, and they were unaware that Tinnitus was so prevalent in those with FMS. Proudly, I told them that my life's motto is, "If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly!" therefore, I did not just hear ringing, buzzing, or roaring! No, I had a band in my head--sometimes even a whole orchestra-- and most of the time I enjoyed their musical selections! They laughed, which is what I intended. Yet again, I have found that my sense of humor is my best coping mechanism when it comes to LIVING my fibroLIFE. I am especially glad--and relieved--that I am able to laugh about this particular Fibro Secret!