Even in absolute silence, I can hear sounds from within myself. The source of these sounds is sensory-hair cells in the inner ear. However, the sounds of ‘silence’ are not so easy to detect. People with ringing ears can easily hear internal sounds in total silence. Those without hearing disorders also generate inner background sounds which are not as intense. They may sound like hissing, ocean waves, clicking, buzzing, whooshing, or ringing. We don’t register these sounds while busy with everyday activities, but it’s possible to ‘tune into them’ with awareness.
I can hardly hear in my right ear, and it’s constantly ringing. During my military service, using earplugs wasn’t always possible, and I guess I failed to protect my ears as I should have from all the booms and bangs. After being dismissed from the army, hearing in my right ear deteriorated. My ringing and almost deaf ear bring me challenges. For example, it’s difficult for me to know a sound source’s direction and to concentrate in silence.
But every cloud has a silver lining. I use the continual ringing as an indicator of changes. Whenever I bring awareness to my hearing, there is a static hissing/ringing sound in the background. Specifically, I use the sounds of silence to indicate shifts in my emotions and assess the impact different breathing practices have on me. For instance, an irregular, noisy sound that draws my attention is a sign of unrest. On the other hand, more soft sounds in low intensity indicate that I’m relaxed.