Imagine the whistling of a kettle, a high-pitched and irritating sound which I have to endure every day as a person living with tinnitus. It’s not the most accurate description of the ringing which fills my ears on a daily basis, but it’s the closest I can get to making people understand a condition which is tricky in so many ways.
If it’s not the fact that only I know the sound in my ears, then it’s the fact that even thinking about it can set it off, and once it’s the centre of attention, it’s hard to ignore. Of course, this means that I struggle to get to sleep, or focus in quiet places such as a library or study.
Then comes the matter of audiology. If you’ve ever had your hearing tested, then you’ll know the fun that comes with putting on a pair of headphones and pressing a button whenever you hear a sound. Yet, throw in tinnitus and it’s not quite clear which sounds are the artificial warbles. It becomes a case of guesswork.
This Tinnitus Week, there’s a particular focus on isolation, and with tinnitus affecting everybody in different ways, one can understand why some may feel quite lost when trying to find others with similar experiences with the condition.
Yet, as much as awareness events shine a light on a particular issue, they also do a brilliant job of bringing those affected together. Both aspects are equally as important.
Tinnitus Week takes place from 4 February to 10 February 2019. If you would like to learn more about tinnitus or where you can find support, you can visit the British Tinnitus Association’s website at tinnitus.org.uk.