"The tinnitus was really bothering me – it was a constant noise in synch with my heartbeat. But, there was a secondary noise too. It sounded like glass breaking, or wind chimes. I had problems sleeping and if I woke in the night, I had real difficulty getting back to sleep."
“I first experienced tinnitus about four and a half years ago. It didn’t start over night; it was a gradual thing. Six months previous to this, I’d looked down as I was getting out of the car and both of my ears went pop, like when a plane comes into land. It seemed quite strange. I held my nose and blew out, to try and clear my ears; both ears cleared but my right ear quickly blocked again and felt pressured. I kept trying but I couldn’t clear it.
Nothing changed for a week or so and the hearing on my right side was quite badly impaired. Eventually, I went to see my GP and I was referred to the hospital, where I had hearing tests, saw a Consultant and was referred for an ultrasound. They couldn’t find a problem and I was told I’d need a hearing aid.
"I mentioned it to my GP who explained that it was tinnitus and that nothing could be done about it: I would have to live with it - and so I did."
From day one, I didn’t get on with the device. It made the pressure in my ear unbearable. I was told to persevere but things didn’t improve. A few months later, the tinnitus noise started. It sounded like my heart beat; it was a pulse-like noise. I mentioned it to my GP who explained that it was tinnitus and that nothing could be done about it: I would have to live with it - and so I did. Then, about three years ago, I suffered from arrhythmia and, through the tinnitus, I could hear my irregular heartbeat. I saw a Cardiologist who prescribed medication for the arrhythmia. That’s been fine since but I was told, once again, that nothing could be done about my tinnitus.
By January of this year, the tinnitus was really bothering me – it was a constant noise in synch with my heartbeat. But, there was a secondary noise too. It sounded like glass breaking, or wind chimes. I had problems sleeping and if I woke in the night, I had real difficulty getting back to sleep.
I read an article about craniopathy and how some people had found the treatment successful. I had two sessions and felt very unwell afterwards; I had terrible headaches. Soon after, my daughter heard about The Tinnitus Clinic, via a lady who worked for an ENT Surgeon in Harley Street. We made an appointment straight away and I first attended the Clinic in May this year.”
Astrid’s initial assessment revealed that she was suffering from both objective and subjective tinnitus. Objective or ‘pulsatile’ tinnitus is pulse-like and can often be heard through a stethoscope, whilst the more common type of tinnitus – called subjective or tonal tinnitus – tends to be a single tone, which can only be heard by the patient. Further MRI investigation didn’t reveal any underlying cause, so we prescribed a new treatment – Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy™. The treatment is intended to give you control over your tinnitus awareness and to create what is called a ‘habitual state’ – akin to breathing, so that the tinnitus doesn’t break through to your conscious awareness. The treatment combines hearing instruments and complementary therapies and individual prescriptions are adapted as treatment progresses,” explained Mark Williams, Principle Scientific Audiologist at The Tinnitus Clinic.
“From the moment I started using the new devices, things improved. The tinnitus in my right ear was blocked out. My left ear was fine; no sound was actually feeding into that ear initially but I was given the hearing aid to stop the noise ‘jumping over’. I wore the devices for four hours a day, and this was increased to six, then eight hours.
"On the first day, having worn the devices for four hours, I noticed that the tinnitus disappeared briefly for a few minutes. It was absolutely wonderful; totally quiet!"
Mark warned me that it would come back, but that hopefully, over time, the noise would subside.
I was also prescribed three other complementary treatments. A ‘party mode’ button was incorporated into my hearing aid, to help when I’m in noisy places. Before, I couldn’t hear what people were saying to me, when I was out, like in a restaurant. Now I can press a button and it excludes the outside noise to a degree, so that I can hear the person talking to me. For night times, I was given a white noise gadget. You can select which noise you prefer; I chose one that’s similar to the hearing aid noise. It lulls me to sleep and I’m not having any problems any more; it really is very agreeable! I also have a little wireless gadget – a kind of remote control, which helps when I’m watching television. I can watch without interfering with anyone else, and alter the volume to suit me.
I visit the Clinic every two months and my devices are re-programmed each time. During the first two months of my treatment, it was a case of getting used to the whole thing. The second two months were, at times, quite trying, because there was a lot of noise going into my tinnitus ear and also some noise into my good ear too. At times, I found it quite challenging and sometimes it gave me a headache – but Mark explained that it was nothing to worry about; it was all part of it.
"Now, there’s minimal noise being fed into my tinnitus ear and things are 100% better. The really wonderful thing is that the moment I put the two devices into my ears, I cannot hear any tinnitus at all. It is completely gone."
When I take them out, it comes back after a while but in a very, very reduced way. When I wake up in the morning, it’s still there a little bit but so much less than it was.
I’m so pleased with how far I’ve come! It’s a miracle and I’m in awe of the whole thing. It has helped so much – I’m so much more relaxed, I can’t tell you. When you have this constant sound it does wear you down in the end. But, it’s just wonderful now. I can’t wait to get up; I put my devices in and I know I’ll have a really good day. I look at those two little devices and I think, ‘I can’t believe what you’re doing!’
I’m very impressed with how professional The Tinnitus Clinic is too. What can be done – it’s been a real eye-opener! When I see Mark, he spends a long time with me. It’s very individual; people can hear all sorts of different tinnitus sounds and everyone’s hearing ability is different.”
"I’m extremely pleased with my progress and I’m hopeful that my tinnitus will go completely or be so reduced that I won’t notice it any more. I think that’s the final aim; it’s progressing so well, that I can only think that we’ll achieve this goal!"
“I am completely back to normal now, I feel like me again”FIND OUT MORE
Watch our video to learn about the neurological causes of tonal tinnitus.
The Tinnitus Clinic has clinics throughout the UK
An important part of my mission at The Tinnitus Clinic is to share our knowledge of tinnitus; its causes, how to prevent it and what to do if you are suffering from the condition. This blog will go some way in achieving this aim.