For the past few years I have been interested in finding out more about tinnitus, mainly because I suffer with the condition myself. I have regular problems with my right ear and as I write this, all I can hear is hissing and popping.
Tinnitus recently hit the headlines, albeit, for a very short period of time when the Inspiral Carpets drummer, Craig Gill killed himself after ’20 years of unbearable tinnitus’. After the Inquest, his wife Rose Marie called for greater awareness of the devastating effects of this condition.
I agree with what Rose Marie is saying. How many of us have been to our GPs and been told that there is nothing that can be done? Most of the time it is viewed as a minor condition which is easy to live with.
My experience suggests otherwise. How many of us have difficulty in getting to sleep at night due to the humming, hissing, popping, grinding, buzzing or whistling noises? How many of us cannot hear what people are saying due to these annoying internal sounds? How many of us have gone down the hearing aid route to combat it? And how many of us avoid conversation or crowded places?
These are serious issues which can affect a sufferer’s confidence which can impact on so many other aspects of their lives. There has been many occasions where I have only caught the odd word of a conversation and then felt inadequate for not understanding what has been said.
Since I pursued the ear candle route, I have been approached by so many people who suffer with this condition and most are desperate for a cure. I am open and honest when it comes to ear candling and tinnitus; it will relieve the symptoms for a period of time, but it is not a cure.
I use ear candles because my ears don’t seem to drain properly and can feel heavy and blocked, which impacts on my hearing and increases my tinnitus.
So….back to the original question…..Why do so many people suffer with tinnitus?
In the UK, more persistent tinnitus is estimated to affect around six million people (10% of the population) to some degree, with about 600,000 (1%) experiencing it to a severity that affects their quality of life.
Tinnitus can develop gradually over time or occur suddenly. It's not clear exactly why it happens, but it often occurs along with some degree of hearing loss.
Tinnitus is often associated with:
age-related hearing loss
inner ear damage caused by repeated exposure to loud noises
an earwax build-up
a middle ear infection
Ménière's disease – a condition that also causes hearing loss and vertigo (a spinning sensation)
otosclerosis – an inherited condition where an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear causes hearing loss
As I have touched on in my previous blogs, I firmly believe my tinnitus is caused by having grommets numerous times. In short, I wish ear candling had been around when I was little. Nowadays the treatment is more accepted in the west and as a result people are more willing to give it a try. I have even known ear candles to be used on children as young as 18 months old and if it saves them from a lifetime of hearing loss, tinnitus and grommets, then it has to be a good thing.
Thanks for reading