Did you know that when we are afraid, every muscle of the body becomes tensed?
We hold our breath and become ‘All Ears’
This means that our entire being has become focused on the sense of hearing and all the other senses have faded into the background.
Here is an example of how this manifests when Tinnitus strikes.
Meditation prior to Tinnitus
I sit in a silent living room and try to concentrate on my breath. Thoughts of what I need to do distract me or I find myself day dreaming.
Meditation after Tinnitus
I sit in the same silent room and try to concentrate of my breath.
This time I notice my T but I also notice the clock ticking above the fireplace. But wait I can also hear the other clock at the other end of the room. I then realise I can actually hear the clock in the kitchen as well. Then there is the fridge noise and back to the living room the DVD player has a strange hum. But wait there is more, the computer fans are also spinning away as well.
Just then my wife walks in and says sorry I did not realise you were here its so quiet!
The point is all those sounds (apart from the tape hiss in my ear) were there prior to T but I never noticed them. This was my definition of silence.
When we are stressed the brain turns up the audio gain to listen and monitor for danger. It, therefore, makes sense that as the volume is turned up and we search for all sounds, T is going to ramp up as well. If will then identify T as a threat and something that needs to be monitored. Then the brain will seek it out and turn it up to ensure it can be heard above a car engine or Game of Thrones at full throttle through a 7.1 home cinema system.
When we start to habituate and lose the fear we find it can disappear under a single human voice or a solitary songbird. In fact, if we are reading an interesting book it can vanish as our eyes and imagination become our dominate sense even in a silent room.
I also think there is an element of OCD in those of us who understand the concept of habituation, have experienced it, but seem to take longer to get it on a cellular level.
I remember taking a CD player back several times because it made a clicking noise in quiet passages. No one in my house could hear it. When I took it back to the HiFi store and said ‘if you put you head next to the CD player you can definitely hear a clicking noise’
The Store Manager said ‘is that how you listen to music with your head next to the machine?’
I said no I sit a few metres away. The Store Manager replied ‘Can you hear it then?
Me – Erm…no
I still have the same CD player.