Living with Tinnitus


It's tinnitus week, and the theme this year is tinnitus research - without research, there won't be a cure.

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) are very passionate about making research high up on the political agenda for every single person who experiences the condition.

Tinnitus is prevalent and affects all age groups. Approximately 13% of UK adults live with persistent Tinnitus, and around 1 in 10 of those adults find it has a significant impact on their quality of life.

We speak to one of our staff members about their experience with Tinnitus, and how it affects them in their everyday life.

"We may hear many noises in our everyday life, but we don't LISTEN to the trivial sounds that have no meaning. Our brains learn quite quickly that the insignificant noises, such as a working fridge, are normal and doesn't require a reaction. However, when we hear a sound that has significance, such as a baby crying, we become immediately aware of it and act on that noise."

What is Tinnitus like for you?

"In my case, when I initially hear Tinnitus, I attach such a strong reaction to the sound that my brain thinks it is important. It then filters as a priority noise, and I begin to monitor it. I can't stop myself from listening to the tinnitus noise to see if it has altered in any way. In the quiet time before I sleep, the calm that I used to know, is now filled with either the anxiety that the sound will start or the sounds themselves."

What does it sound like?

"The best way for me to describe the sounds is a low humming/ringing sound, like the sounds of a factory in the distance. It increases and decreases in intensity which makes you listen more intently for variances and the intervening moments of silence."

What can you do to help with the condition?

"I use Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) which teaches the sufferer to ignore the noise, combined with deep relaxation and stress management. The object of this for me is to eliminate the anxiety that the Tinnitus causes - ultimately diverting the concentration away from the tinnitus noise."