The hubby and I were sitting at the kitchen table reading when he said, “What’s that noise?”
Like a dog, I twitched my ears this way and that but couldn’t hear anything.
“What’s it sound like?”
“Like a motor humming.”
As if it were a computer, my brain began retrieving and dissecting anything it knew about humming, motors, and machinery. It knew that when I turned off the computer an unexpected silence erupted, and that when I turned on a sewing machine you could hear a gentle hum. But neither of these were noticeable from a distance, and frankly the man is practically deaf, so if he can hear it I should certainly be able to hear it.
Lord knows I tried. He thought it was coming from the backyard so I opened the door expecting to find a neighbor mowing his lawn or a kid playing with a drone. Nothing.
I wondered if the bathroom fan might be running. Nope.
Later that afternoon, as he was watching television, he called me in. “Tell me you can’t hear that noise now?”
I pitched my ears again, straining so hard I think I went blind for a few seconds. I checked the front yard and still nothing. By now I was actually afraid I would hear it, and have it drive me batty like when I get a song stuck in my head for days on end. I asked if he had something running in the cellar and he went to check. I found him sitting on the bottom step.
“Can you hear it?” I asked.
“Yep,” he said dejectedly. I went down to listen but met silence.
For lack of any better advice I said, “I think it’s all in your head.”
He plugged his ears and listened.
“See, it’s all in your head.”
I then educated him on tinnitus as a possibility and/or that he might get used to it like I did my foggy eye.
You’d think I’d be celebrating having solved the mystery but the whole time this was going on my brain kept calling up mother-in-law. His mom has called him many times to come over and check out a noise she hears in the evening — a humming of a machine. He has never heard it but that has not convinced her that it’s not there. In fact she’s convinced that the town is running something at night and often threatens to call them and find out what.
Obviously if you put two and two together you get a hereditary condition of the audible variety. But he seems to have gotten it 20 years sooner than her. Should I warn my children of their heritage?
The next day the hubby was frustrated enough that he got up off the couch and went for a walk. When he came back, the noise was gone. He has deduced that it has something to do with his resting heart rate. I suggested he get a second opinion from his doctor.
And maybe, just maybe this is his mom’s problem too.