February 5th marked the beginning of Tinnitus Awareness Week.
According to the HSE, tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that are not caused by an outside source but from inside your body.
While the condition is not life-threatening, it can have a huge impact on those who are living with it.
Tinnitus can disrupt the mood, concentration, sleep, and work and social lives of those who have been diagnosed with it and can lead to psychological distress or depression in severe cases.
According to Chime, the National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss, it is estimated that one in 10 people in Ireland had tinnitus in 2019.
The organisation also adds that a lack of understanding by others and the visibility of tinnitus can increase a person’s isolation.
In respect of Tinnitus Awareness Week for 2024, Made In Chelsea alum, Jamie Laing, has shared his own experience with the ‘debilitating’ condition.
I woke up one morning and I got out of bed and I could hear this ringing noise, this whooshing ringing noise.Jamie Laing via Instagram
In a post on his Instagram account, the social media personality sadly revealed that he has heard silence in eight years.
“Lots of you may not know this but I haven’t heard silence for 8 years – because of tinnitus. Like millions of others around the world, it’s debilitating,” Jamie wrote in the caption.
“But I’m a huge advocate for people talking about their feelings and when you talk about something like tinnitus you actually start to gain some relief.
“Today is #tinnitusweek, so I wanted to work with @rnid_uk to help raise awareness of their support and research, to help find a cure for the 1 in 7 people in the UK who have tinnitus.
“Remember you’re not alone in it,” the NewlyWeds Host concludes.
In the post’s clip, Jamie candidly opens up about how tinnitus symptoms began for him.
“I woke up one morning and I got out of bed and I could hear this ringing noise, this whooshing ringing noise. I was thinking, looking around thinking, ‘Where the hell is this ringing noise coming from?’
“Then it suddenly dawned on me that it was inside my own mind, inside my head. That, for anyone whose experienced Tinnitus, is a really scary moment.”
The podcast host says his first step in addressing the ringing noise was to see an audiologist, where he was promptly diagnosed with tinnitus.
“I sat on my sofa and I just thought, ‘This can’t be happening to me right now’ . You cannot imagine how debilitating it is.
“There’s no more silence, so you think you’re never going to sleep again, you think you’re never going to be able to hear anything again apart from this ringing. That’s a pretty scary place to be.”
The former Made in Chelsea star pinpoints spending a lot of time in nightclubs without protecting his ears as a contributor, urging others to do so to prevent developing tinnitus.
He also attributes his anxiety to making the condition worse.
Tinnitus can sound different in each case.
It was so loud, I was like, ‘This is the moment where tinnitus is going to take over’. You want to scream. You want to literally rip your ears off.Jamie Laing via Instagram
With tinnitus, one or both ears can be affected, and noises may be heard like ringing, buzzing, whooshing, humming, hissing, roaring, throbbing, whining, clicking, or other variations.
For Jamie, he likens his to a ‘dog whistle’ with a ‘whooshing noise surrounding it’, adding that he hears this sound ‘constantly’.
He went on to explain how the condition can impact daily life.
“It takes me a lot to cry. I was shooting a television show called ‘Hunted’ and, in it, my tinnitus was so bad; people were asking me questions, and I couldn’t hear what they were saying because the ringing was just so overbearing.
“You’re always scared that tinnitus is suddenly going to take over your whole mind, and all you’re going to hear is ringing for the rest of your life, and you won’t hear anything else.
“It was so loud, I was like, ‘This is the moment where tinnitus is going to take over’.
“You want to scream. You want to literally rip your ears off.”
Jamie says he has learned to treat the sound like it’s a fan or aircon in the room.
“You can hear them, but you don’t lean into it.”
Chime and The Irish Tinnitus Association is on hand to help.
Chime provides support and assistance to those who suffer from tinnitus and focuses on ensuring that they don’t feel alone.
To speak to a member of their team call 01-817 5700 for supportive advice or you can chat to one of our tinnitus experts in your local resource centre.
If you prefer to email, you can email [email protected].
You can also download a brochure with additional information about tinnitus here.
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