I have had tinnitus for 17 years following damage to the Eustachian tube, while flying with a head cold. The pain was unbelievable! It was a life-changing event and my quality of life has been severely diminished.
Years of fruitless chasing around for so-called “cures” resulted in disappointment and an assault on my finances. From ruthless sales sites on the internet for medications and even a medical doctor who prescribed cold laser therapy for 12 weeks at great expense. No relief.
If I did not have a loving partner who tries to understand, I am sure that I would be totally isolated now. Every day and event is measured by the intensity of the screeching in my ear.
Today, I take it day by day, avoid certain foods and try to keep up with my social contacts.
My dream is that a cure will be found.
I acquired tinnitus five years ago and even though I was told by my doctor that it would be less noticeable in time, I continue to struggle with it on a daily basis. Peace and silence mean so very much to me. I used to meditate regularly, practice yoga and travel often, but now with the ringing, meditation is challenging and flying is stressful as the ringing in my ears competes with the sound of the aircraft.
I despaired when told by doctors that there was no cure for tinnitus and that I had to cope with the soundtrack in my head. It took me eight months to find effective counselling and the team at Better Hearing Australia (Vic) helped me to manage my tinnitus with support, empathy, information and a willingness to stick with me until I got through the days when it seemed like the tinnitus was getting the better of me.
I am now wearing hearing aids on the days when my tinnitus is very difficult to tolerate and they have brought great relief. I sleep with a sound machine which creates noises such as rain falling and birds chirping and this has been a positive tool also with which to manage the tinnitus.
Unfortunately there is very little affordable and accessible tinnitus support in Australia and very little research to find a way to stop tinnitus.
I am now on the Board of Better Hearing Australia (Vic) to help the Australian tinnitus community find a way to make peace with their tinnitus and live life to its fullest potential. It is possible - but it isn't always easy.
Allan (Name changed for privacy)
I worked on a construction site and due to decades of exposure to loud machinery my hearing has been damaged and the ringing (tinnitus) set in about fifteen years ago. Work became unbearable and even when I put protective ear muffs on I could hear the tinnitus louder than ever.
I had to change jobs, not easy when someone is in their early sixties, my marriage was on the rocks and I suffered depression and anxiety. Unfortunately the GP's I saw could not help me and said I had to cope with the tinnitus as there was nothing to be done. This made me even more depressed and anxious.
I didn't think I could live any longer and had very dark thoughts about life in general. Luckily my children were a great support and my wife and I went to counselling and that helped save the marriage. It appeared she thought I was hallucinating when I was saying I had noises in my head. She didn't understand the tinnitus was REAL.
I now have a council job, less money but a job nevertheless. I wear my hearing aids every day. I had never heard of tinnitus until I got it and can't believe in this day and age nothing can be done to stop the ringing. Tinnitus is a challenging symptom to live with.