What’s it really like to live with tinnitus?

The sad reality is that there isn’t yet a cure for tinnitus. Living with the condition can be life changing.

We spoke to Jane McFerran, who has suffered from tinnitus for 17 years.

Here’s her story…

 

“Tinnitus,” the doctor said. I asked what the treatment was.

“There isn’t any, you’re going to have to live with it’.

That was the hardest thing to accept. It felt like my life was over and as a result, I became very low and depressed. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t think straight. Everything suddenly became a challenge.

Over the next year or so my tinnitus didn’t get much better. In fact, it got much worse, because I was now focusing on it! I was stressed out and angry at the world. I couldn’t understand why this had happened to me.

I began yoga classes 3 times a week and after about a month of going, I felt my mental strength returning. I started to think, I’m not going to let this take over my life. My world will never be quiet again, so I have to learn to enjoy the noise.

As I’d lost 50% of my hearing in one ear, my audiologist prescribed me a hearing aid. This really helped, especially during the daytime. As I could now hear normally again, the outside noise was finally louder than the internal ones.

I found nature is also a great healer. The sound of running water is incredibly soothing, so standing in the shower really helps! Now you might think I’m mad, but wish I could sleep in the bathroom. And not for its source of water. I discovered we have an extractor fan in there with the exact noise that masks my tinnitus. After some research, I learned that the sound was very close to a brown noise.

Discovering white, brown, purple and pink noise made a huge difference to coping with my tinnitus. These sounds are like humming textures that mask your tinnitus and make it much more bearable. But after using lots of masking products over the years, I learned there isn’t just one sound that will fix everything. Different situations will require different combinations of noise, and finding those combinations really takes time.

I still struggle with my tinnitus every day. Some days are better than others. But I’ve learned that hearing and listening are two different things. When you eventually stop listening to your tinnitus and start listening to the world again, you’ll be on your way to living.

 

 

For more advice on dealing with tinnitus, read on here.

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