Today marks the beginning of Tinnitus Awareness Week, a condition that affects 10 per cent of adults in the UK. Lucy Thompson finds out what it’s like to live with it and why we should all listen to the recent Plug’em campaign.
Buzzing, humming, grinding, hissing and whistling. These are a fraction of the noises sufferers of tinnitus experience on a 24/7 basis, a condition with no cure or known cause.
The British Tinnitus Association has launched a fresh campaign to raise awareness, especially in younger people, encouraging the use of earplugs at clubs, gigs and festivals.
Famous music producer, Mark Ronson, is the campaign’s ambassador and suffers personally with the condition.
He became a household name recently when he hit the number one chart spot alongside Bruno Mars with Uptown Funk and has spent decades in the music industry.
“I’ve suffered with tinnitus for 10 years and it affects me 24/7,” said Mark. “I wish I had been smart enough and Plug’em earlier. I make sure I do it now though.”
It is hoped the campaign will be far reaching and act as a way of highlighting the problem.
Jo Higman, 41, from West Bridgford, suffers from Tinnitus, which she believes is caused by her love for loud music.
“I thought it was temporary but it never went away,” she said.
“I’m due for further tests but my own theory is that it’s a result of nearly 30 years of gig going. I sympathise with the sound man at Rock City.
“I have a high pitched whistle in one ear only. It sounds like I have water in my ear too.
“I mostly just try and ignore it as it’s worse when I focus on it.”
Tinnitus can become very distressing and is often linked to insomina and depression.
Listening to loud music is not the only link to tinnitus and sufferers can acquire the condition for many other reasons.
Derran Langston, 39, from West Bridgford, developed it after receiving cancer treatment.
He said: “It’s a constant low ringing and gets worse when I’m tired and/or dehydrated.
“I do tend to have difficulty picking out a single thread of conversation in a loud room and I struggle to pick out one voice.
“I’m aware that some people have horrendous symptoms, so I’m probably very lucky.”
The NHS is currently spending £27 million a year to help people manage their symptoms through hearing aids or counselling.
A spokesman from the British Tinnitus Association said: “Hearing damage can be easily caused when sound levels are unsafe and the Plug’em campaign is raising awareness for the need to protect your ears.
“We have developed a website with easy to understand information about safe and unsafe levels, different types of earplugs and which are best for different situations.”
Visit www.plugem.co.uk or www.tinnitus.org.uk/TAW2016 for more information.