"I had heard of tinnitus but the noise was not the high-pitched whistling most people get but a much lower tone, like a steam roller passing by the house."
Imagine putting your headphones on to listen to your favourite music and instead hearing a constant whooshing noise. That’s how it sounded to Janice Dyson every time she wanted to use her iPod to relax to some much-loved tunes.
Even with the volume turned up all she could hear from her left ear was a rushing sound that never faded away. Soon it started to disrupt her sleep, damage her concentration and severely affect her mood.
Janice Dyson relief from Tinnitus Janice, 63, a retired library assistant, started to notice the noise after she fell ill with a totally unrelated spinal problem and was given powerful drugs.
Doctors suspect, although they cannot be sure, that some of the medicines she received may have triggered the debilitating problem.
“At first I thought it must be something really serious such as a brain tumour,” says Janice.
“I had heard of tinnitus but the noise was not the high-pitched whistling most people get but a much lower tone, like a steam roller passing by the house. I went to my GP and was referred to an NHS ear, nose and throat specialist. I had CT and MRI scans which rules out anything serious and was told I had tinnitus and there was nothing that could be done. The doctors said that the drugs could have caused it or even the illness itself.”
“I couldn’t sleep for ages and when I eventually did I would be woken several times in the night by this constant noise,” says Janice, from Wingerworth, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
"During the day I was exhausted and could no longer concentrate on anything. Reading a book was impossible and I just didn’t want to go out anywhere. It was awful."
Audiological tests showed some slight hearing loss and Janice was fitted with a hearing aid and a device that generated “white noise” to try to mask the sound of the tinnitus. White noise is a bit like the “static” sound on a radio when it’s not tuned into a station properly.
It didn’t work though and in desperation she contacted The Tinnitus Clinic in Birmingham for help. Experts there suggested Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy TM, involving counselling sessions combined with “sound enrichment” to gain greater control over her tinnitus.
The sound enrichment component of the therapy is designed to provide ad hoc control over the patient’s tinnitus awareness with a long-term goal of bringing about perceptual habituation to the tinnitus signal.
Our audiologist at The Tinnitus Clinic, Rugina Begum says: “Janice’s sound enrichment was set up to match her tinnitus. This makes it very hard for the brain to discriminate between the two which gradually desensitises it to the tinnitus.”
For Janice the treatment has given her back her life.
“Within a few months I noticed a radical improvement,” explained Janice.
"Now I am 80 per cent better. I can still hear the noise but it’s nowhere near as loud. I’m back to sleeping normally and going out socialising again."
“It’s getting better everyday. I can sleep, eat, read and go out. Without it I don’t know what might have happened, I really feel for people who are told there is nothing that can be done.” she says.
“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.