Andrea’s story | British Tinnitus Association

Andrea didn’t know if she could live with tinnitus at first, but her story has a happy ending.

Waking up one morning in late 2015 with an intrusive high-pitched hiss in my head was a surprise, but I soon realised this must be tinnitus and my existence quickly became tortured by it.

I thought my hearing was good

My GP confirmed it, said I’d have to get used to it and re-directed me to Audiology, where a hearing test showed I had some loss of hearing at the top levels, which was news to me as I thought my hearing was good. Hearing aids were prescribed, which I accepted, although secretly I thought I was much too young to wear them, so I put them aside and ignored them. I wasn’t too young of course, and it was a big mistake not to take them on.

The long journey to find a cure

I thought I knew best and set out on the long journey to find a ‘cure’. Research on the internet revealed that many people had tried many different things, almost all of which had no real effect. In addition, medical researchers were beginning to see this condition as a neuronal disorder in the auditory cortex with various causes.

With this in mind, my first experiment was to have a course of repeat transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS]. This cost a lot of money and had no effect on my neurons.

Be in the moment

Woman smiling and standing in front of shelves.My second experiment was of a psychological nature where I had a series of meetings with a psychologist who helped me to ‘be in the moment’ with my life and its activities. With this new ‘mindfulness‘ tool, I began to notice things a lot more and this strategy effectively diverted my thoughts and attention away from the tinnitus, the noise of which became subdued and often disappeared.

Almost 100% free of the noise

I also decided to give the hearing aids a try and, amazingly, the recovery of the high-pitched sounds I was missing seemed to completely wipe out any residual tinnitus noise. I am now almost 100% free of the noise of tinnitus, I hear it briefly when I awake, but it disappears within minutes as I focus on other things. 

My life now has changed completely, from those early days of fear and unhappiness where I thought I’d be on anti-depressants forever, to a normal, busy, happy existence where I am able to immerse myself in and thoroughly enjoy my activities and life generally.

The experts were right

In the beginning I was told that I would have to habituate to tinnitus – the experts were right, you just have to find your way to achieving it, and I hope that my experience will help.

Tackling tinnitus by yourself can be daunting and can make you feel isolated and alone. The British Tinnitus Association can offer support through our freephone helpline, email, SMS/text and web chat services. Our tinnitus support team has many years of experience supporting people with tinnitus and all our support services are free. 

You can access the British Tinnitus Association’s support services via: 

Freephone helpline: 0800 018 0527  

Web chat: www.tinnitus.org.uk  

Email: [email protected]   

Text/SMS: 07537 416841 

Flowers photo by Richard Bell on Unsplash

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