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Tinnitus: your experience

Ahead of Tinnitus Week (last week), we asked you 2 questions:

  • what does your tinnitus sound like?
  • is there anything specific that you do to help manage your tinnitus that others might find useful to try?

We had so many great comments, and wanted to share them with you.

Your comments

Mine is constant high pitched, like an alarm sound with a low dB hum in background. It is there constantly.

Mine is like a snake constant hissing, the sound of a loud clock helps.

I have cicadas ‘chirrupping drrrrp drrrrp.’ I force myself to pretend I am in Africa, falling asleep to exactly that sound.

I have the high pitched dog whistle, a distant whooshing sound and a constant loud pulse sound.

Mine is a permanent high pitched whistle. Only way I can sleep is with a thunderstorm and rain app.

Do try to find a local support group. There, you will find friends who really care and understand. Such a group cannot cure you but will make a big difference to your life.

I have three different sounds, one is permanent which is a high pitched kind of static/ringing sound, and two are temporary. One is a lower pitched ring which comes with noise exposure or infection and the other is a loud mid-high pitched ring which lasts a few seconds but also causes a few more dB of hearing loss. Using my hearing aids makes it much less noticeable unless I’m tired. I usually need background noise to distract myself from it when I’m not wearing them but I appreciate that won’t work for people with higher degrees of hearing loss.

I first started to notice the hissing in my ear after an ear infection. It gradually got worse over the years, but when I was given hearing aids, boy what a difference they made. Gradually it has gotten worse over the years and now I have it in both ears.

Mine’s a high pitch ringing in my head. I’ve had it as long as I can remember (I’m 38). There’s no real pattern to it but it’s definitely louder when I’m run down or stressed. I also wear hearing aids and this helps a bit. Getting to sleep at night is horrible.

Mine sounds like I have just come home from a loud 80’s disco! It is always there but worse when stressed and/or tired.

Mine’s like sitting on the hard shoulder of a motorway with the odd whine. If I’m unwell or tired or stressed it’s really high pitched. I think it’s a good barometer of my general well-being so it helps me to take steps to ensure I keep well.

Mine started when I lost my hearing. Constant, never-ending buzzing of multiple types! Learnt to use it as a relaxing method, especially at night! Now my tinnitus helps me sleep! Always without hearing, yet never without sound.

Loud white noise – like a continuous “sshhh” in one ear. I’ve had it for nearly 40 years. Luckily I’ve always been very focused so it doesn’t bother me much. Unless I can’t sleep, when have to get up and do something or it drives me mad.

Sometimes a high whirring, sometimes sounds like someone has left the tv on next door. The best remedy has been acceptance. These sounds are part of me and they are here to stay. This attitude has stopped me obsessing.

I have a permanent police siren in one ear and a distant rumble machinery in the other.

I didn’t know that tinnitus was a ‘thing’; I thought everyone had it. I can’t remember not having it. It’s just how it is; screams, pops, whistles and drums all the time. 24/7; always there. My internal percussion!

High pitch sound all the time in both ears. However, I started to require hearing aids a few years ago and have found that while I am wearing my hearing aids, the tinnitus is greatly reduced. As soon as I remove the aids the tinnitus returns.

High pitched whine that gets worse with a hangover – never notice it when drinking so it saves itself up for the next day.

I’m 100% profound deaf and have had tinnitus over 35 years. Mine’s more of a high pitched whine in an large empty space. It only comes when I read the word ‘tinnitus’ or it’s been discussed like now, lol. The trick is not to think about it or distract yourself.

At the moment, I’ve got a new type of tinnitus, a thumping that sounds like my heartbeat. The buzzing/ringing I manage by focusing on activities like colouring and crafting, but this thumping sound is making it hard to concentrate currently! NOTE: RNID advises that if the sound is like a pulse or a heartbeat, you should book an appointment with your GP.

When I first experienced this, I constantly checked outside my house for a truck… then realised it was tinnitus. The second noise is very distracting and really interrupts falling asleep! I do breathing exercises and self-relaxation techniques.

I work from home so have the radio on all the time except when in meetings. At night, I use an app called Sleep Pillow which plays rainfall sounds, and helps me get to sleep. It is always there but most of the time I can manage.

Play something low in the background if you can, distract yourself so you don’t focus on the sound too much, which I know can be extremely challenging to do when it’s intense. Try many different noises like white noise, brown noise, pink noise, green noise, rainfall, ocean, etc., until you find something that works for you. What works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for someone else.

Some comments will be amended for length, punctuation and grammar.

Tinnitus Week may be over, but we know that for people living with tinnitus, the sound is still there. Our free guide is available all year, and has information about breathing and relaxation techniques, support communities and things you can do to support a loved one with tinnitus.

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