Saturday, May 4, 2013

Who Turned on the Music?
May 4, 2013

When I experienced my Sudden Hearing Loss back in mid-January, my world became basically  silent.  The hearing aid I had been using for 8 years was not strong enough to give me any sounds.  I could slightly hear VERY LOUD sounds, but nothing else.  The first several days there was a slight fluctuation in my hearing.  On about the 5th day, I could hear tiny bits of conversation, the toilet flushing, the electronic chime on the door at our shop, but within a week of the loss, those sounds had vanished. 

About the time I lost those few sounds, I began to hear music.  The music was very nice, relaxing, and pleasant.  Then it got very loud.  It is there ALL the time.  When I wake in the mornings, I  immediately become aware of it.  At night when I try to go to sleep it is still there. 

The first few days, there were only a few musical selections, over and over, for hours and hours.  One of the first pieces I heard was How Great Thou Art.  I had been doing research since about the 3rd day of the hearing change, on Sudden Hearing Loss, and continued doing more research (on line) concerning the music I had started hearing.  The best site I found to explain what I was experiencing (and continue to experience) can be found at: if you want a scientific explanation.

There is a rather lengthy article at that site about the phenomenon.  This may become too technical or may tell you more than you want to know, but it is a part of what is happening to me.  From this article and others that I have read, it seems that the brain doesn't like silence; when there is no input, the brain creates its own sounds.  This is brought about because of Sensory Deprivation.  The brain needs sound.  The music is different from what many people experience, called "tinnitus".  With tinnitus, some people hear ringing in their ears while others describe different sounds like buzzing or a rushing wind.  But whatever that sound is, it is normally one tone that is continuous. 

The music is totally different.  In medical terms, this is called "non-psychiatric auditory hallucinations".  Some people hear a voice that sounds like a radio announcer, or a sportscaster while many hear the music.  These non-psychiatric hallucinations, are most common with people who have lost a significant amount of their hearing, but can happen in those with normal or near normal hearing.  (I have mentioned this phenomenon to family members and some who do not have a hearing loss say they hear what sounds like an announcer sometimes.  Another says while mowing the yard, the person can hear music).  The "announcer" is not like voices that talk to you or about you (those would be psychiatric auditory hallucinations).  As one article said, as long as the voices don't tell you what to do, you are OK.  Usually with the "announcer" you can't really tell what is being said, it is just a monotone voice that sounds like an old fashioned radio announcer coming from another room or a distance away.

Interestingly, most people who hear music, hear the old hymns.  Some hear The Star-Spangled Banner (unless they are from Canada and then they would most likely hear God Save the Queen or Oh Canada, or Australians would hear Waltzing Matilda).  In my case, one of the first songs I heard, on about the third musical day, was Waltzing Matilda.  I am not Australian and have never traveled there.  That lasted about a day.  Then I heard When We Walk With the Lord.  During the three months now that I have heard the music, that song is the one I hear the most.  Over and over the chorus says, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." 

From the first song, I was curious about the phenomenon, but the music brought me peace and comfort.  When my world had been turned upside down, the one constant was God's love and protection for me.  I have never questioned,"Why me?" or doubted His love and perfect plan for my life.  As I have often told friends, this is not the road I would have chosen, but it is the path God has put me on and I will follow it to where He wants me to be. 

The songs I began to hear, repeated over and over the truths of that love and steadfastness.  In the beginning, I would usually hear a male quartet, with a very strong, very deep bass.  The male quartets went on for a couple of weeks before I got more variety in the musical groups.  Normally, I would actually hear the words of the songs and the quartet would sing several verses. 

At this time I have recorded over 50 old hymns along with a few more recent praise songs that I have been hearing.  It was about 3 weeks into the music before I heard The Star Spangled Banner and on about the third day of music, I heard "Hey, Jude" by the Beatles.  That really threw me for a loop since I was not really a fan of The Beatles, but a precious friend had just had a baby and named him Jude.  That is the only reason I can think of for that to have popped up in my brain.

Over time, some of the music has become just instrumental and I can pick out trombones and baritones playing lead in some pieces.  One day last week I woke to Shall We Gather at the River accompanied by a BANJO!!  Where did that come from???  It was a lively way to start my day and I must say it got me to laughing.  I am not big on banjos, but that was a cheerful morning.  Most of the pieces are the same tempo - rather slow.  That one was very lively.

The hymns are the music I have loved to hear all my life.  I love the harmony in the old hymns and the messages that they teach us.  After a couple of weeks I began to focus on the words of those old  gospel songs: Have Faith in God; I Surrender All; Take My Life and Let it Be, and one of my favorites, In the Garden.  All of these reminded me that I could trust God to bring me through this time to have a closer walk with Him, to trust Him more.

Other hymns spoke to me in other ways: Make Me A Blessing, and Make Me a Channel, reminded me I could still reach out to others.  As I use my amplifier at the office, many have asked me about it and said they need one for themselves or a family member.  After writing out the information on the item several times, I ran off copies of the order information to share with those who ask.  Maybe I can help enrich their lives by showing them how to get back into the conversations they have been missing. 

Have a Little Talk With Jesus, Sweet Hour of Prayer, I Need Thee Every Hour, and When We Walk With the Lord, remind me that I need to take time to talk to the Lord and that I can be assured that He is walking beside me on this path.  God Will Take Care of You, and Have Faith in God, remind me to trust Him for my future.  In the words of each song there were things I could learn.  I had sung them all multiple times, but now they had added depth in the messages to me.

Other favorites that I continue to hear remind me that He gave his life for me and that He cares about me and will meet every need I have.  At the Cross, At Calvary, and One Day remind me what He did for me.  But after He gave His life, He arose and lives in Heaven.  He Lives can bring a smile to my face on a dark day.

In the hymns Send the Light, This is My Story, and We've a Story to Tell to the Nations, the words remind me that in these days of anti-Christian feelings, that we are to continue to tell others about God.  Hymns of God's greatness such as Great is Thy Faithfulness, I Stand Amazed..., His Name is Wonderful, and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, proclaim He might and power.  But then Be Still and Know That I Am God tells me to take time to be quiet and listen to Him.  My ability to hear God's loving voice speak to my heart is not stopped by my hearing loss.

All of these hymns and the others I have been hearing have had an amazing, calming effect on me during some of the hard times.  When I am put in a sound-proof booth for yet another hearing test, the only sound I hear is "the music".  When I am sitting in a doctor's office waiting for hard to hear news, there is always His message in song, reaching out to surround me with His love.  When I went to be fitted for the super strong hearing aid, I began to wonder if that hearing aid were to work, would I be able to still hear the music.  It was not something I wanted to stop.

I may need to explain that when you are deaf, you can not hear anyone speak - including YOURSELF!  When I talk, I have no idea if I am speaking loudly or softly.  The first Sunday after the music started, we were in our Sunday School class which my husband Ron teaches.  He had mentioned to the class about the music.   I sit at a desk along the side of the room and write note cards to those who are absent.  In a little bit (I am told) I started humming or singing along with the music in my head.  They all started to laugh and of course I didn't know why.  But it did give him a chance to explain to them just how deaf I am.  I had no idea I could be heard.

I shared about the music with a sweet lady in whose home we stay when we make our many trips to Houston.  I told her about how I always hear the beautiful old gospel songs and tears came to her eyes as she said, "The angels are singing to you."  A couple of days later, I heard a harp accompany one of the songs.  I think she just might be right.  Sometimes I imagine God calling on some of the angels and telling them, "Today, you will be singing to Linda."

Whatever causes this lovely music, it is totally a blessing to me.  I accept it as a gift from God to help me through this time in my life and if it should ever go away, I will miss it greatly.


  1. Since I am alone so much of the time, I find myself singing or quoting a Bible verse or a poem. I will wonder why that particular song or verse came to my mind. With your research, it now appears to me that God is keeping me from being lonely!

    1. Yes, Tiny. The article mentions recent widows often experiencing similar phenomenons. He has suggestions of keeping sounds on in the house and getting as much social contact as you can, but he makes it sound like I would want to get rid of this. I sometimes wish it had a way to make it quieter because at times, it
      gets very loud. But it has been such a blessing! For now, I will leave well enough alone.