Henrietta’s story | British Tinnitus Association

Henrietta shares her experience of living with tinnitus and how it has been affected by Covid-19.

“I’ve travelled my whole life with sounds that only I hear. They’ve always been there, chatting away. The sound that comes loudly and quickly and then fades away just as fast. The sound that’s always in the background if I focus hard. The fiery sound that comes when times are tough and can render me helpless.

I didn’t know other people didn’t have the sounds. It was only when studying Audiology and the word ‘tinnitus’ came up that I realised how quiet other people’s worlds were.

Many of the people in my life have commented on how ‘happy’ I seem. How much I enjoy life. I’ve got my friend tinnitus to thank for that because when I’m stressed, or grumpy, or unwell my sounds push forward into my conscious world. Like everyone else, I don’t like being aware of sounds in my ears. I don’t like the sounds dominating my life. So, I make sure I spend a lot of time creating and maintaining a balance in my life, being happy and keeping my sounds at bay. It’s tough to do every day, but it’s well worth it. 

 The fiery sound that comes when times are tough

Of course I sometimes forget and let this busy, intrusive world take control. Forgetting how lucky I am, forgetting to spend time on the right things, wanting more than I need. But the more I take care of myself and seek that elusive balance, the more the sounds shrink back into the distance.

I call the sounds “my annoying friends that tell me the truth”. For when the sounds chat away, I know I need to look after myself, that something is not right in my world. Once I’ve figured out what’s not right, I try to change my behaviour and get the sounds to fade into the background again.

There are times that I can hardly hear the sounds. Sometimes I have days, weeks, even months when I am barely aware of them. Then for a short time I may even believe that I have conquered the sounds, but if I go looking, they are always there.

I had Covid-19 before the first lockdown and for the next two months my friends were back with me: constant and nagging. They crept into my sleep, hung out when I talked to people and argued with the screen. It took me some time to figure out what was going on.

 I make sure I spend a lot of time creating and maintaining a balance in my life

I realised, my world had gone quiet, my normal everyday routine to maintain the elusive balance had stopped. I had to acquire new routines to keep the sounds at bay. It was tough but I finally managed it.”

If you are looking for ways to manage your tinnitus, you might find our self help section useful. It’s packed full of information including details of our Take on Tinnitus website which is available to use whenever you need it.

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