Working late on the evening of November 23, I became aware of a barely audible whine that emerged, on and off, over the usual gentle hum of my computer. Right away, I had a theory on what was causing it: if it wasn’t the new hard drive that I had bought just a few days earlier, it had to be one of the fans in my machine acting up. I put my ear to my computer case, but I couldn’t hear the whine anymore.
Slightly puzzled, I opened up my case, unplugged all the fans and hard drives and started plugging them in, one by one, to isolate the culprit. No luck. Although I could hear the whine now and then, I could not place it.
It was clear that the problem lay somewhere else. I shut down my computer and all the other electronic devices in my room and started listening. The whine was there, clear as day, only now it appeared to be coming from the part of my room where the radiator was. I put my ear to the radiator, but the noise didn’t get any louder. I took a walk around my apartment – I could hear the damn thing in every room! What could it be?
I was out of ideas. My only remaining suspects were the ventilation system in the supermarket next door and the electrical transformers in the basement five floors below me. The problem was that the noise seemed about equally loud in every room, while you’d expect it to get louder as you get closer to the source.
It wasn’t until the next day that a simple experiment with a pair of earplugs and isolating headphones finally revealed the truth: there was a constant noise in my head. I had freaking tinnitus. The next few days were hell for me. Obsessed with the incessant whine I could not get away from, I became a nervous wreck unable to perform even the simplest everyday tasks.
Today, a month later, the sound in my head has not gone away, though it bothers me much less. In my next post, I will share some tips that helped me get over the initial shock and go back to living normally.