"It took over my life, it was constant, and I often thought it was getting worse. Because it’s in your head and you can’t isolate it you don’t get a break from it, it was 24 hours a day and you know you will have it for the rest of your life."
Sue works for a large international hotel group travelling around the world on business and lives next to the Forest of Dean, about 15 miles from Cheltenham. She has suffered with tinnitus for 12 years.
Like many tinnitus sufferers Sue’s tinnitus can be significantly affected by tiredness and stress. Sue started to worry about the impact it was having on her life, which only made her tinnitus worse.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is worst, I would say my tinnitus was about 8 or 9, and at its best it’s probably about 3. Over the last 12 years I’ve been to see doctors every couple of years to ask if there was any treatment or research, but while they were always sympathetic, the answer was always no - there isn’t” says Sue.
"Over the last 12 years I’ve been to see doctors every couple of years to ask if there was any treatment or research, but while they were always sympathetic, the answer was always no - there isn’t."
“It took over my life, it was constant, and I often thought it was getting worse. Because it’s in your head and you can’t isolate it you don’t get a break from it, it was 24 hours a day and you know you will have it for the rest of your life. It affected my sleep and as I live in the country where it’s very quiet, the tinnitus was more noticeable.”
Sue was on business in the Middle East when her tinnitus suddenly became unbearable. “I had no sleep for three days and finally had to go to hospital to see if I could get some relief from it. They gave me sleeping tablets and when I got back to the UK I saw a specialist, but again was told there wasn’t much more they could do”.
"It was my husband who found The Tinnitus Clinic website. What attracted me to the treatment was that it is science based."
“For years it was said to do with damage to the ears, but the The Tinnitus Clinic are following a neuroscientific approach to their treatments. They provide a clear and logical explanation that there is an involvement with the brain and that encouraged me to talk to them about my tinnitus.”
Sue booked an appointment at The Tinnitus Clinic in Cheltenham with ENT Consultant Mr Matthew Clarke and started her journey towards relief.
“Matthew was the first person who talked to me in such a way that I felt truly understood. Rather than saying there was nothing to be done, he said he thought they could help – which for me was a huge turning point. His whole approach made me feel safe, understood and supported and I also felt I could trust that they would do their best to help me.”
An Initial Assessment then followed with Kathryn Paynter, the Senior Audiologist, performing a range of diagnostic tests to assess Sue’s audiological profile.
“They were very thorough and informative and for the first time I felt some progress was being made. They were professional, calm and structured, but also very open and understanding. They explained everything very well and answered all my questions. From there the process was extremely well managed. Kathryn was there whenever I needed help to ensure I was following the therapy process. I started with a fairly high level of contact and this gradually reduced as I became self-sufficient with what I needed to do. There were a couple of times where I needed to speak with Kathryn because I had a severe period, and she was available straight away. She always listened and explained things clearly, giving me the comfort that what I was experiencing was not unusual. This was so important in reassuring me that I was still on track and making progress.”
With support from The Tinnitus Clinic, Sue is now in control of her tinnitus and continues to benefit from the treatment options provided by the clinic and the support from our audiologists.
"What’s often important is not just what people do, but also how they do it. Kathryn is perfectly suited to her job! She is very genuine and I truly valued her support."
“After years of being told “you’re going to have to live with it”, the first time I went to The Tinnitus Clinic it was “we might be able to help you here, let’s see if we can do something about it.” Psychologically, that was a huge shift to move from “live with it” to “we can help you.”
The Clinic said it usually takes 8 to 10 months to reach a level of stability. For me, it took about 10 months, and then a further two months to improve a little more. As well as the therapy, a big part of coping with the tinnitus is how I approach it mentally. With the support of the Clinic I now understand it much better, I know it’s improved and I know that I can do things to reduce it. So if I have bad days – and I know I always will – it’s OK; they are less frightening and they don’t take over.
I have found that the holistic approach taken by The Tinnitus Clinic has been hugely beneficial to me. The Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy sessions, the tinnitus hearing aids, the relaxation techniques, nocturnal sound enrichment and the coping strategies have all worked well together and have not been intrusive in my daily life. I also feel The Clinic is on my side – they understand what you are going through.”
"This all makes me feel that I am in control, and the tinnitus is not in control of me. I owe a great deal to Kathryn and the rest of the team at The Tinnitus Clinic."
“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.