"I was constantly hearing it in my ear and head. When I would wake up in the morning I would think it would go away, but when I got up, it was still there and that got me down a lot."
It was in the winter of late 2014 when 69-year-old retired School Secretary, Sandra Moir became one of the over 400,000 people living with tinnitus in Scotland. It all began after Sandra was confronted by a buzzing sound which she later discovered was tinnitus – a condition commonly known as "ringing in the ears".
Though the tinnitus was tolerable at the time – it was after a bout of stress following a family bereavement in early 2015 that an unsuspecting Sandra began to feel the condition slowly taking over her day-to-day life.
Here, the Darvel, East Ayrshire resident shares her story with us.
"At the time of all of this I wasn’t feeling very well within myself.
"I was a bit low and we also had a family bereavement, that’s when I started to become more aware of the tinnitus. From around March of that year—it seemed to take over as it became louder.
I was constantly hearing it in my ear and head. When I would wake up in the morning I would think it would go away, but when I got up, it was still there and that got me down a lot.
The tinnitus was dominating my life and was having an impact on every aspect of it. I enjoy activities like Thai chi and at that time I would try lots of different things to try and divert my attention away from the tinnitus. I ended up having a fixation about it, I thought I had something wrong with me and you know thinking about it constantly only makes it worse.
"I had gone to the doctors because I was feeling low and I mentioned the tinnitus but they more or less said there was nothing they could do."
"I did some research on the internet and that’s when I came across the Spire Hospital in Edinburgh and found The Tinnitus Clinic."
It was then when Sandra attended an initial assessment with Mr Mike Wells, Senior Clinical Audiologist of The Tinnitus Clinic in Edinburgh and was treated with the Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy. The therapy is a proven therapeutic pathway specially designed by The Tinnitus Clinic and is exclusively available at the clinic.
The therapy aims to redirect the attention of the tinnitus signal away from the patient’s brain and to help the patient control the awareness of their tinnitus. The therapy also helps the patient to cope with the day-to-day emotional impact of their symptoms.
Mr Wells said: "Since we started the Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy in July 2015, Mrs Moir has made sustained and continued progress as each review appointment has been completed. At each stage we have seen incremental reductions in tinnitus perception and this has provided the basis for longer-term improvements in her general wellbeing and quality of life."
Sandra said: "My experience with The Tinnitus Clinic has been excellent and I’ve had good support. I can still hear the tinnitus however it does not impinge on my life anymore as before, it is certainly far more in the background and I don’t feel anxious about it anymore. “Now there are even some days when I forget to put the devices in! Now I go out with my friends and I speak to them a lot more, I’m doing things that I used to enjoy doing without constantly thinking there is something wrong with me."
Watch our video to learn about the neurological causes of tonal tinnitus.
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.