World Tinnitus Day: Adam Stacey, Understanding Tinnitus – My Personal Tinnitus Journey
First, let me start by saying thank you to Restored Hearing for raising awareness about tinnitus with their important World Tinnitus Day initiative.
In this article, I’m going to be discussing the importance of World Tinnitus Day to not only raise awareness for people suffering from the condition but to also help educate people that are unaware of Tinnitus and the impacts it can have on your life.
- Around one in 10 UK adults has tinnitus, with recent data showing that this increases to nearly 17% of 40 to 69-year olds and 25–30% of over 70s;
- Around 10% of Tinnitus sufferers are affected to a point that it impacts their lives;
- One in six of the population has hearing loss of at least 25dB in one ear;
- The US estimates that nearly 15% of the general public — over 50 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus;
- 2 million people have extreme and debilitating cases of tinnitus in the US
When I travel throughout the City of London I often find people listening to increasingly loud music through earphones, of course, there is nothing wrong with this. However, when you are just seats away and you can hear the music playing my stomach ties in knots knowing the damage this can cause to the inner ear.
With digital devices changing the way we operate today we find ourselves surrounded by loud noise.
- Concerts/Clubs – Digital Systems playing louder quality music;
- Gym – Gym classes such as Spin;
- Headphones – Listening to more music – commute to work;
- Working environments – Working on Building Sites.
Given the statistics above you can see this is an increasingly common issue with more and more cases being reported every year. It’s estimated in the UK around 32,000 new cases had been reported last year alone. Unfortunately, because we are surrounded by so much loud noise we are seeing more young people becoming affected.
My personal tinnitus journey
Looking back at my journey I was shocked to learn about Tinnitus and the effects that it could have on me. For those that don’t know my story, after excessive amounts of loud noise over a number of years Tinnitus became something that I had to start managing. The first 12 months I found exceptionally difficult to manage and can say looking back that I was part of the 10% impacted on a daily basis.
I cannot help but think the changes I would have made if I was made aware of Tinnitus and the impact it can have on your life. If I had known I could have done something as simple as protecting my hearing in loud environments by using earplugs to lower the risk, maybe then I would not have ended up with Tinnitus.
The most difficult part of realising I had Tinnitus goes back to the first number of days/weeks when I first sought medical attention.
Sitting in the reception room at my local GP, I anxiously awaited the doctor to call me in.
I sat down with my doctor and explained what my symptoms were and after a couple of checks, my doctor was satisfied she knew the problem.
Adam, you have Tinnitus.
At this point I was confused and upset, my doctor started going through some of the facts about Tinnitus and unfortunately, the only thing I heard was “currently there is no cure”. My mind slowly started to wander as my doctor was talking about the condition.
Confused about Tinnitus, I started asking a number of questions but sadly my doctor couldn’t answer. Instead, she printed out a 2-page document about the condition and politely asked that I read through it for more information.
As many of you that follow me on social media will know, my journey didn’t stop there. After many trips back to my doctor, I finally saw a specialist in the field (ENT).
Lack of awareness in GP’s
Now, let me be clear, I’m not criticising doctors. We have some fantastic support in the UK for many health issues and we cannot moan about the great work that happens every day in the UK health service.
However, a survey from the British Tinnitus Association reveals that more than half of tinnitus patients were unsatisfied with their doctor’s response. In the same survey, 92% of unsatisfied patients stated they felt that their GP was ‘dismissive or unsympathetic’, or ‘didn’t have enough knowledge’.
Approximately 750,000 tinnitus related GP consultations in England happen each year and up to half of the patients report finding it moderately or severely distressing, with complaints of intrusiveness, emotional stress and other behaviour issues.
This is why World Tinnitus Day is important! If we educate as many people as possible and bring organisations together then we can start discussing the condition on a wider scale. That way, those who suffer from Tinnitus will not only be better supported but also more people will be aware of the importance of protecting your hearing.
Thank you, Restored Hearing, for raising awareness about such a great day!