Oto | British Tinnitus Association

A blog from Tinnitus Week sponsor, Oto

Hi everyone. I’m George. I’m a 28-year-old doctor and I’ve had tinnitus since 2013. I’m not sure exactly what caused it, although I suspect I primed myself through years of listening to my music too loudly and working in bars and clubs. At the time, I thought it was going to be the end of my application to join the military and this made me miserable. Not only would I have to live with tinnitus for the rest of my life but I thought it was also going to cripple my dream career. Thankfully my hearing remained intact and I managed to get through the initial medical.

In fact, after a few years of working as a doctor in the military, it turned out not to be the dream career I had expected. I was part of a Royal Navy unit and I worked with plenty of young men and women who had been exposed to loud helicopter engines and machinery/weapons. I was learning to manage my own tinnitus and shared the frustration my patients had at the lack of help for tinnitus. We referred them to an ENT specialist, if needed. Otherwise, I felt powerless to help.

I have always wanted to start a small business and in August this year I quit my job, determined to create something to change this. I have spent the last 6 months learning to code and have put together a small team to create an app – Oto – that delivers psychological therapy that might help people adjust to living with tinnitus.

My co-founder, Ed, does an amazing job running the business side of things whilst I work on making the app. We still work agency shifts at the evenings/weekends to keep the bills at bay, but it’s been great fun so far and we’d love for this to be successful enough to work on without having a second job.

There is no cure for tinnitus, and we don’t make any promises to the contrary. For most of us (including me), tinnitus is here to stay. It took me a long time to adjust to this but, although I still hear it throughout the day, it no longer upsets me like it used to.

I do believe that psychological therapy can help to make the process of learning to live with tinnitus that little bit smoother and little bit quicker.

Thanks for reading everyone and have a great 2021,

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