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"The noise in my head was all very new to me and I couldn’t sleep at all. It affected me in many ways, mainly my concentration suffered and of course not sleeping made me very tired."
Paula Savage, is a beauty therapist living in Glasgow. She tells her story about the seven difficult years she suffered with tinnitus and how Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy™ (TDT) led to her recover, “to be myself again”.
It was around January of 2008 when a high pitch noise appeared in Paula’s head. She was aware of the sound before, but this time it didn’t go away. She remembers going to her Doctor and was diagnosed with an ear infection and then took a course of antibiotics.
Paula takes up her story. “At the time I was extremely stressed out, it was a difficult time for me, I was at college and I was working, which meant I was absolutely exhausted. The noise in my head was all very new to me and I couldn’t sleep at all. It affected me in many ways, mainly my concentration suffered and of course not sleeping made me very tired. I started to see a pattern in my symptoms; for 3 or 4 weeks I would be able to cope with the effects of tinnitus, but then it became all too much and I really struggled.
I was working hard, which took my mind off the noise, but the problem was at night time. It was difficult to fall asleep and then when I did, it seemed to wake me up. I was exhausted because I wasn’t getting enough sleep.
During the day if I was doing anything with my family or having a meal with friends for example, I found everyone talking at once would confuse me. However, I also noticed that if there was a lot going on this would distract me and take my mind off the tinnitus. Sometimes, I did struggle to hear people because of the noise of the tinnitus.
I hoped that in a couple of years it would go away. However after that time the continuous noise was still with me. I started to think I would have it for the rest of my life – that was really hard to come to terms with.
I used to say to my mother that it wasn’t so much the loudness of the noise but the high pitch that I struggled with. But the biggest thing to cope with was the tiredness and lapses of concentration.
I never had a temper in my life but I developed one because of the tinnitus. During the years I had tinnitus I became more erratic. Before, I was a very calm person, but it just got worse and worse as the years went on.
"If I were to give advice to other people with tinnitus I would say, “if it is so loud that you aren’t getting a proper night’s sleep then you have a problem.”
For me it wasn’t just the noise that was the problem it was the tiredness. You just can’t function with that.
It got to a point last year when I just had enough and I became aware of The Tinnitus Clinic in Edinburgh. So I booked an appointment for an assessment in September 2014. I was very nervous about going to The Tinnitus Clinic. I was worried that it wouldn’t work and that it was my last lifeline.
I met Mike Wells, the audiologist and specialist in tinnitus, who was very understanding and assessed the tinnitus that I had in both sides of my head and measured the pitch of the tinnitus. We agreed that I should start a course of TDT which included using two of the latest tinnitus hearing aids which Mike needed to programme to my specific tinnitus pitch."
Mike describes Paula’s progress. “We have now completed two follow up appointments one in November 2014 and the more recent one in January 2015. At each one she has shown marked improvements in the severity of her tinnitus perception. She is now able to enjoy daily activities as well as going on holiday which she wasn’t even able to contemplate prior to treatment.
Paula also reports a significant improvement in her ability to maintain a regular sleeping pattern that in itself has brought added benefits in terms of general mood and reduced anxiety. We have one further follow-up to complete in April 2015.”
Paula continues “I had the devices in for about a week and a half and I started to notice a slight change in my tinnitus.
In November I noticed that the volume was definitely getting lower and I was starting to have more regular sleep. And Christmas was fantastic this year, so much better than in previous years.
So after five months I am completely back to normal now, I feel like me again. I can still hear the noise but I am now able to concentrate on day-to-day things – simple things like holding a longer, sensible conversation or remembering what you went into the kitchen for.
"I am more relaxed, I’ve got my patience back, I am sleeping well and no longer have that constant longing to curl up and go to sleep. I now feel I have complete control over my life."
“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.