Tinniat, Tinniat, Tintinnabulum! #socs

I spent my freshman year of high school at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, and took Latin from Father Zimecki, who by that time was old enough that Latin might have been his native tongue. The day before the start of Christmas vacation, Mr. Raispis, the principal (who was also a Latin teacher) came in and informed us that Father had fallen ill and had to be taken to the hospital, and that he would be conducting class that day. He then handed out printed sheets of paper and said, “Today we’ll learn to sing Christmas carols in Latin!”

Now, we had all grown up when the Catholic Church was still conducting Mass in Latin, and we already had some experience singing Christmas carols in Latin (e.g. Adeste Fidelis, “O Come All Ye Faithful”) but the song we were given was called Tinnitus, better known to one and all as “Jingle Bells.” Now, the only line from that I remember was “Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus!” and I wanted to share the song with you. And I found it, or at least a different (and possibly better) translation of it, translated and sung by Dr. Keith Massey.

Speaking of tinnitus (changing gears to talk about the medical condition “ringing in the ears”), I have one hell of a case of it. I have to run white noise most of the night to block it out. I asked my doctor about it, and he said that it was possible that I had arthritis in the ossicles, the three little bones in my ears (the malleus, incus, and stapes, or the “hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup”), and there really wasn’t much I could do about it that I wasn’t already doing. I heard another explanation that it might be the sound of the blood rushing through my carotid arteries on its way to the brain. In that case, I’m pretty happy I have it in both ears, because that means my carotids are clear and I won’t have to have the surgery to unblock them. Some company is advertising ear drops that allegedly will stop it, but at this point, I think if I didn’t hear the ringing, I’d miss it.

If I don’t see you before next Tuesday, Merry Christmas!


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from McDonald’s. Give McDonald’s gift certificates for Christmas, only $0.50 each or a book of ten for $5.00!

28 thoughts on “Tinniat, Tinniat, Tintinnabulum! #socs

  1. I wrote about tinnitus sounding like a drone of jingle bells not consciously knowing the words were connected. But it all makes sense now! 😉 I love the idea of gratitude for the sound of blood flowing as it should. I’ll take it! Merry Christmas and jingle all the way!

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  2. Love jingle bells in Latin. Thanks for sharing it.

    Both B and his dad have pretty bad tinnitus. They’ve just accepted it. I’m going to mention the ear drops. Hadn’t heard of that.

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  3. I have ringing in the ears, as well. Thus, the reason I constantly listen to music. With that said, back in the day and listening to loud music, could be the cause of some of it. I’ve learned to live with it and it doesn’t bother me unless I dwell on it. Beautiful song.

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    1. I’m not sure that loud music has much to do with it in my case. It only started after the stroke, so I’m thinking that had something to do with it. It’s when I don’t have something else to listen to that the ringing gets worse.

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  4. Thanks for sharing the Latin version of Jingle Bells, I hadn’t heard that before. My dad and my husband both have tinnitus, it’s a pain, that’s for sure. I’m touched by how you’ve accepted and become thankful for the ringing. Merry Christmas to you and Mary and your kitties! xx

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    1. My hearing is still fine (in fact it’s gotten better) so the ringing doesn’t bother me. Nothing I can do about it, and it’s not life-threatening, so I live with it. Merry Christmas!

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  5. Delightful song in latin — with the lyrics to sing along — and lovely photos in the video. I think a lot of that buzzing comes from the electronics everywhere around us. You’re right, you just learn to live with it. Happy Holidays!

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  6. I’m just old enough to remember Catholic mass in Latin. As a child, it was somewhat torturous since I had no idea what the priest was saying. Thankfully, Christmas songs were sung in English!

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    1. Do you remember the old Tridentine Mass, when the priest faced away from the congregation? You had no clue what was going on. They phased in the Vatican II changes slowly, where they were still saying most of the Mass in Latin when they turned the priest around. It took them until ’69 or ’70 before the whole thing was in English. That was a strange time…

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        1. I think they made the incense to produce as much smoke as possible. We have priests who love to use incense, and when they’re done you can hardly see the altar. When I was an altar boy, I remember being the thurifer, i.e. the guy who carried the censer. After a while, you get used to the smell, but it takes a while…

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  7. I can’t believe they haven’t figured out a cure for such an awful condition yet…or even a cause. I don’t have it, but my sister does and it can be torture.

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