My Annoying Friend…Tinnitus.

This week is Tinnitus Awareness week so I thought I would give you all a bit of an insight into a life with tinnitus.

Along with my hearing loss in February 2014, I made a new friend; Tinnitus. But it is not a happy friendship we share, it is more like that really irritating friend you cannot get rid of, no matter how hard you try. In fact, the harder you try to get rid of it, the more persistent it becomes.

My tinnitus doesn’t conform to the “normal” tinnitus description, I.e. buzzing, ringing noises generally associated with tinnitus but rather I get church bells, motorbike like sounds and occasionally even cats and dogs screaming – you can see why we have a ‘hate’ relationship.

I used to only have tinnitus in my right ear which was the ear with no hearing whatsoever, but after my recent hearing loss, I now have tinnitus in both ears (oh joy!) so there is no escaping it. Before the most recent hearing loss, when I put on my CI, I was able to temporarily get rid of the tinnitus because my brain was focusing on the sounds received through the implant but now I constantly have a ringing/church bell/motorbike/other weird sounds in my left ear which I am always aware of.

I had forgotten how exhausting it is having tinnitus, it is a sound or sounds that never leave you from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep. It gets in the way of you hearing natural sounds and sometimes it makes you feel like you are going mad!

There is no such thing as silence for a tinnitus sufferer as you never truly experience the feeling of silence again, in fact, when your environment is quiet, it only serves to make your tinnitus all the more present.

I recently went out for dinner with my husband and had forgotten to pack spare batteries for my CI in my bag and lo, and behold, halfway through our meal my processor starts beeping at me to warn me it was about to die. Typical. As I was with my husband, I wasn’t too concerned as I knew we would still be able to communicate with each other with me reverting back to lip-reading. If I had been out with anyone else, I think I would have made my excuses and left because it was hard work. It was strange to be sitting there unable to hear the noises of people chattering, background music, cutlery clanging but be surrounded by the noise of tinnitus. I think that is the most isolating feeling about hearing loss for me personally, feeling so far removed from your environment.

There are of course, techniques that you can utilise to cope with the tinnitus, and it is often said, that after time you will just get used to it and become less aware of it but generally speaking, there is no “cure” for tinnitus.  For some of us though the coping techniques are useless, for example, music is believed to be a great method of reducing the effects of tinnitus, especially when you are attempting to sleep, but when you have a near total loss of hearing how are you meant to listen to the music without the use of hearing aids or CI’s?

My own personal coping mechanism at night is a rather strange one; I make up stories based on the sounds I can hear and lull myself to sleep with that – it means I often have some rather bizarre dreams but it works for me.

Aside from potential sleep deprivation, tinnitus can bring a whole host of side effects; mood swings, headaches and can result in depression in sufferers. It is, like hearing loss, an invisible disability – no one knows you are suffering from tinnitus but it can be an extremely debilitating condition.

What kind of friend is your tinnitus? I’d love to hear your experiences and personal tips!

Laura x

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “My Annoying Friend…Tinnitus.

  1. Laura. I have read your blog with great interest. I am now 79 years of age and at the age of 6months and up till I was 11 years old I had 7operations on both ears caused from teething I had Mastoids well known in the 30’s and 40’s. It left me with Tinnitus at 8 years old and at that time nothing was known of Tinnitus so over the years I learnt to ignore the noises it made in my head very often Night and Day I never told anybody about it as a youngster because I thought everybody had it. The publicity you and hearing link are giving it now makes the public aware of it. The more it is brought to the public awareness the better for the youngsters who suffer with it now. I went through main stream school with 53 pupils in a class and was expected to get a good school report by my parents against all the noise in such a classroom I couldn’t hear what the teacher was saying most of the time and nobody knew so I took to reading and taught myself virtually. There is not enough public awareness of people with hearing loss and more should be done by the Disablement Minister in Parliament to keep it in the forefront of public awareness. Yours Norma graves1234@yahoo.co.uk

    Like

    1. Hi Norma,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post, I do appreciate it.
      I think many people do not realise how debilitating tinnitus can be and far more needs to be done to raise awareness and better resources to help cope with it. I totally agree that more needs to be done by the disablement minister and by other organisations. Do have a look at http://www.restoredhearing.com – they deal with tinnitus awareness and may be of some help to you!
      Laura Lowles

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s