My personal experience with tinnitus
For me tinnitus is a more of a hissing sound rather than the ringing in the ears that so many other people complain about, naturally I assume that my type is the worst one in existence, if pressed I would compare it to a boiling kettle. It comes and goes and as with a kettle it can start fairly quietly and get louder, the only thing I can say that is very dissimilar to a kettle is that I can’t turn it off!
I don’t know how long I have actually had tinnitus on some level but I can say that I was about 17 years old when I first noticed it arrive at the same time as a dose of fairly bad tonsillitis. As my Mother had been a long time sufferer I had a close family memeber with who I could share my suffering which is what helped a lot and also motivated me to start this blog.
After the tonsillitis cleared up I realised that there was a ongoing noise in my right ear which I ignored for a while as I expected it would go away, when it stayed I decided to visit the doctors who gave me some drops which were supposed to take care of the problem by treating ear wax.
After completing the course of drops the noise had not gone away so another visit to the doctors had me referred to the Ear Nose Throat Hospital in London where I was told that it was most likely something to do with my bones (otosclerosis) and it was something I would need to learn to live with. I was also told that my hearing would get worst over time (deteriorate much more quickly than anyone else) but when this did happen a hearing aid could be prescribed which would treat the issue.
The whole diagnosis and living with the noise was really depressing for me, it was over 50 years ago and there was no Internet to reach out to other sufferers and no help groups setup to discuss and share the problem. This lead to me feeling as though I was the only person in the world who had this problem. In those days the doctors and medical staff were good at treading illnesses but the compassion and support that you get today was not there and the effect of the kettle on my demeanour was not something that was considered or thought about treating.
When it is at its worst I cant ignore it and there is no reason or sense as to why it will amplify for a hour or a few days before dampening down a little and becoming something I can ignore. When it’s at its loudest and stays that way for a few days it becomes overbearing and starts to wear me down.
The best solution I have found as a long term treatment for tinnitus is to stay busy and get out as much as possible, at night, if its really bad I will take a sleeping tablet but I really don’t like doing this and try to avoid this where possible, in the early days I had some success masking the sound.
As my hearing has deteriorated it has become more difficult to mask the tinnitus and this has been one of the biggest challenges it has posed me to date, if anyone has any solutions or suggestions on how I could tackle this next step then please feel free to share them in the comments section below as I am at a stage where I will give anything a try although I do try to avoid any kind of medication where possible.