Recently on my Facebook page, I shared a video of Rikki Poynter, who is an American YouTuber, that lives with Tinnitus, and she inspired me to share my story on living with it.
If you’ve never heard of tinnitus, it is a sound that you can hear inside of your ear. It can vary from ringing, buzzing or whistling. Some people have mild tinnitus, some people have a stronger sound in their ear. Each form of tinnitus is unique and varies in different people.
I’ve been campaigning for British Sign Language for a while now, but have never shared my own experiences with tinnitus, which in my case does affect my hearing. Does that mean I have hearing loss? I’ll let you decide.
This started from an operation I had when I was younger. I had a perforated eardrum which would not heal itself. The surgeons had to remove a piece of skin behind my ear, and stitch this to my actual eardrum. Tinnitus was just a mere side effect of the operation, and it has lived with me ever since.
My form of tinnitus is a very high pitched squeal, and is continuous. I’ve tried to find a YouTube video to help you gauge the idea of what it sounds like, and the closest video I could find is a dog deterrent. (Sorry!)
The squealing gets much louder in a quieter room, and it’s hard to take your concentration off the sound. I’m sat in my room, with no background noise, and it’s super loud at the moment. However, background noises can really help drown out the sound of my tinnitus.
One of my main struggles is getting to sleep with the noise, so I cope by using the TV to help drown out the sound. I like to watch something that is really easy, and I don’t need to think about. Friends is my go to choice, as I can literally quote every line from every scene and every episode. (Judge me all you like, I’m a BIG Friends fan)
Another daily struggle, is actually having conversations with people. Ask anybody who knows me well, the amount of times I have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said is crazy! It was only recently, I realised how much I rely on lipreading myself. I was talking to my friend without my glasses or contact lenses, and I couldn’t see what they were saying. Then it hit me just how much I used lip reading as a tool.
Maybe there is some form of hearing loss in there too? I don’t know. I haven’t had a hearing test in years (please don’t hate me for that!) but all I do know is that I rely on lip reading a lot more than I realised, and it actually surprised me!
So there you have it! Those are my experiences of living with tinnitus. I haven’t covered every aspect of it, however if you’d like to know a bit more. Feel free to drop me a question below, and I’ll reply to your comment.
Much love x