A very important statistic has recently emerged wherein it is stated that almost 1 in 10 people in the world will experience Tinnitus at some point in their lives. For some this is a temporary condition but for others it is a lifetime sentence.
My story started some 28 years ago when I attended a concert and returned home with the obligatory deafness caused by the excess volume. Being young and extremely immature and foolish I did not consider the fact that I was originally prone to severe ear infections when I was young and there before did not appreciate the necessity of protecting my ears. Anyway I noticed, once I had recovered full auditory facilities, that a strange humming sound pervaded my hearing located in my left ear. For those who suffer this condition, and will no doubt appreciate, there is a tendency, during the initial stages, to attribute the symptoms to an event or a specific cause. There is usually an assumption that this is a temporary aberration that will quickly disappear. However as days, weeks and months passed it becomes unexpectedly evident that this affliction was inadvertently to disappear.
In my case it affected my work performance, relationships, sleep and my love of music was severely derailed. I was scared, angry and then suddenly I became extremely depressed. However, as an active sportsman, I experienced a sense of relief and release when I was involved in sporting activities. In effect, as I later discovered, the brain was not 'engaging' with the humming sound at these moments. This was the first sign of my being able to cope with Tinnitus.
Anyway despite many visits to my GP and a variety of specialists the resulting synopsis was not encouraging and I was advised to wear a sound masker. This clumsy piece of equipment only served to add another 'whistle-like' noise to the various auditory manifestations that now inhabited my left ear. I was now reduced to having the radio and fan on to negate the effect of Tinnitus. I remember living, at the time, in a bedsit, feeling so alone because no one understood. I had plenty of sympathy but there was, understandably, no appreciation of how this affliction infects every aspect of your life! Many a time I would break down in tears through lack of sleep, being scared and unable to interact with the world.
So from a life of positives suddenly I was near desperation within a few weeks.
However, as time passed, I slowly managed to come to terms with what I can only describe as my newfound disability. How was i coping with Tinnitus? Well my sporting activities were the key to building up my defenses and providing the ammunition to drive Tinnitus from my mind. Distraction was the missing ingredient. So I decided to make sure my life was even more active. I volunteered to cut the grass on the playing fields, attended car maintenance classes and assisted out neighbors whenever possible. In effect I was re-training my brain. I recall gradually my awareness of the Tinnitus was becoming more and more sporadic. Even at work I forced myself to concentrate even harder on my tasks and the result was my work started to improve. I was on the road back to re-gaining my life!
A correlation to all this was I also started to regain my positivity which had intense beneficial effects on my relationship with friends and family. In time I was able to talk with other Tinnitus sufferers who were able to benefit from my experiences and how I managed to cope … that was a real buzz! Eventi i joined a Tinnitus Support Group. This was also very important as not only could i receive the benefits of other peoples' experiences and wisdom but i could also share my knowledge on how i was coping with Tinnitus. So in effect i was helping others whichave my life more positivity, it added to my distractions and i also was giuded to new sound maskers which were far more advanced than i ever thought possible.
Many years later we are submerged with so-called remedies. Potions, herbs and numerous statements proclaiming how such and such can cure Tinnitus. Of course many people have benefited from using these external supports but … the most important remedy lays WITHIN YOU as I've indicated above.
Today I am very lucky, I have a loving and supportive wife, a reasonable standard of living and somehow I still manage to hump my old body around a golf course (with an ever increasing handicap)! Life is good. It has been an almighty struggle but so much can be gained from the one's mindset. Yes I still have the occasional day when the dreaded T is an affront to my existence but as each month passes it gets less and less.
I'm coping with Tinnitus so can you!