Checking your weight on the scale

Some ten percent of the population experiences a constant ringing or buzzing in their ears called tinnitus. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, but I rarely notice it. In fact, most people who have it don’t notice it until they stop and think about it. It just becomes the background noise to their lives.

But some people are bothered by the noise, so bothered that they can’t sleep. During the day they have trouble thinking about anything besides the noise, constantly checking to see if they can hear any ringing, and finding ways to drown it out. (fans, music, etc.)

Here’s the thing about tinnitus — it’s possible to have a very loud ringing in the ears and be unfazed by it, and it’s possible to have a soft ringing and be debilitated by it. Paradoxically, there’s no correlation between loudness of sound and suffering.

So if there’s no objective reason to suffer, the first part of treatment for tinnitus is to stop checking for the ringing. Stop trying to drown it out. If you accept that the noise is there your brain will stop treating it as a threat. Once it’s no longer a threat, your brain stops noticing it. The volume of the ringing actually begins to go down, until you don’t notice it anymore. Then it doesn’t matter if the ringing is there in the first place.

I suspect checking your weight on the scale works the same way.

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