iIt was just before my 28th birthday and the sensation of the drops in my left ear was strangely pleasant. I listened to the sound of the wax melting and cracking and then felt the warmth of the liquid as it flowed out of my freshly clean ear. Why not clear the rights? I bent my head and buried the drops, and then there was a jerk, as if my ear canal had collapsed: it was as if I were under water.

I grabbed a tissue, wiped my ear, and leaned over the sink in the bathroom I shared with my neighbor to let the drops fall. And then it was done. my hearing back to normal, but along with that I noticed a ringing. What an idiot, I thought.

How to describe the sound? At best, it sounds like air passing through a tiny hole; at its worst, it’s like a cauldron humming in your head. At first I thought the sound would go away after a few hours or days, but it didn’t. It was undoubtedly present in my every waking moment – a faint but constant ringing. Of course, these weren’t drops; how could they cause it? So was it before the ear drops? After all, the sound was so subtle, and living in London it’s sometimes hard to know what silence is, so maybe I just never noticed it. A replica of a panicked Googling at night tinnitus.

I quickly made an appointment with the doctor. Unlike some, I seem to go to the doctor at the first opportunity. I’m one of those people who can lie awake at night wondering what could be next – asking what nothing is. For example, imagine if you knew this was going to happen? You sometimes see it on TV when an old man in a hospital bed looks at his partner and children and says, “It’s time.” Horrible, to be honest. So I see a doctor when I need to, to delay the inevitable as long as possible.

I saw the doctor the next day. She was a pleasant medical student, and I told myself that meant she was likely to be thoroughly examined. I was filled with confidence.

She led me into a room that looked like any other beige NHS room in the country and asked me a few questions. I took a box and a leaflet of ear drops with me and handed them to her. She looked at me seriously and smiled as if to say, “I completely understand your paranoia and don’t want to belittle it, but what are you talking about?” The ear drops, she told me, were highly unlikely to cause my tinnitus – it must just be a coincidence.

She looked at me ears with an otoscope and told me that my ears were perfectly fine. She even called the senior doctor. “Yes,” he said, “two of the healthiest ears I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s hay fever?”

They told me to try the nasal spray and I went and bought it and it made no difference. I used it for a month, and then I read that nasal sprays are not recommended for use for more than three weeks, because they can cause, among other things, tinnitus.

At this point, tinnitus is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a sensation of noise (such as ringing or roaring) that is usually caused by a body condition and usually has a subjective form that only a person can hear. affected” – became the main problem in my life. It affected my work, my sleep… it even affected my conversations. I remember being at my girlfriend’s apartment one evening, sitting on the couch, and as she was talking, I realized that I hadn’t been listening to her words: I couldn’t focus on the call. I was so fixated on it that it was like trying to talk to someone in a noisy pub.

I began to feel like I was in a Kafka story; I walked in circles. I had a problem that no one could see or hear. I screamed into the wind, “Please believe me, please help me”

At that point it occurred to me that this could be forever. I’m pretty healthy, exercise, never smoked and only drink once or so a week. If I’m lucky, I’ll have another 60 years left. I have been listening to this bell for sixty years. It was enough to make me cry in my darkest moments – usually I would lay in bed at night with my eyes wide open.

Convinced that it was the sinuses, I began to breathe steam from boiling water under a towel in the morning, at lunch and in the evening. I massaged my head and put hot towels on my face and eyes. Nothing to soften the ringing, but it helped me relax and made me feel like I was doing something.

I’m going back to the doctor, this time a different therapist. She looked into my ears. “Yes, very healthy ears,” she said.

“Could it be my sinuses?” I told her.

“Not sure, but I’ll send you to an ENT doctor – you’ll get a letter in the mail.”

“When?” I said.

“I have no idea, but not soon.”

Tinnitus is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. About 15 percent of people have it in some form, and one in eight will have it permanently. For some people, it’s debilitating, making it impossible to live a normal life. Earlier this year, Kirsty Gallagher, a TV presenter, resigned from her role at GB News due to severe tinnitus. For others like me, it’s milder and there’s no hearing loss at all.

My own tinnitus is always there. Sometimes it gets worse, like when I’m sick, tired, or stressed. For example, I was walking away from an argument with my partner and realized that the call had become something like a microphone passing too close to the speaker. But overall it’s light; sometimes I don’t even notice it’s there. Between March and July, it’s at its worst when I struggle with hay fever. These months, I decided that I should just live as best I can. Then, in the so-called dark midwinter, I feel more at ease.

For six months, he anxiously waited for a letter from the ENT. When he arrived, he told me he would call me at some point. When I got the call, I had to say a couple of curious code words: “parsley pasta.” But they still didn’t call for a few weeks, and when they did, no one asked me for my password. Luckily I go to the ENT next Tuesday. Everything had to end, finally a specialist. I once considered shelling out £500 for my first private practice appointment but decided to hold out for the NHS.

Tinnitus can be debilitating


I came to the appointment ready for some good news: we would finally figure out what was causing my tinnitus and thus put an end to this horrible chapter. I sat down on a chair; there were some big cars there and i thought they looked promising. The doctor took out a small otoscope and looked into my ears.

“Two of the healthiest ears I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Thank you,” I said.

“Can you describe that sound?”

“It’s like those scarecrows that make a really piercing noise. And it’s sort of in the middle of my head; I used to think it was more on the right than the left, but it’s really only in the middle, and it’s constant. It is always there.”

“Well,” he said, “unfortunately, we don’t know what causes tinnitus, and there’s not much we can do about it other than suggest methods of control.”

“Is that all? Aren’t you going to look at my bosoms?”

“I thought it was an ear problem?”

“Well, yes, but I read that your sinuses can cause tinnitus, and the private clinic said they would do a nasal endoscopy.”

“We can do it if you want.”

“Why not?”

He took out a hook-shaped camera, lathered it with lube, inserted it into my right nostril and rotated it ever so slowly. My eyes watered. He then took it out and put it in the other nostril.

“So what?” I said.

“Very healthy.”

I began to feel like I was in a Kafka story; I walked in circles. I had a problem that no one could see or hear. I screamed into the wind, “Please believe me, please help me.” It’s so lonely when no one really understands what you’re going through. The ENT doctor referred me again, this time for a hearing test.

– But my hearing is fine, – I said.

“Just in case,” he said.

“When will it be?”

“I cannot say; probably not soon.”

From that point on, I stopped trying to figure out what the reason was. Must have something to do with my neck coupled with clenched jaws. But it didn’t matter much

I left the office three minutes after entering. Well, I thought, I can say it’s at least sinus free, and at least it doesn’t seem like it’s that serious.

There was nothing else but to move on. I did a hearing test and my hearing was excellent. It’s time to stop looking outside and start looking inside. I started doing more sports. I saw an osteopathic doctor who told me that this could be the cause of my spine colliding with my skull after years of poor posture. I also did jaw exercises because I read that it could also be my TMJ (TMJ) and it’s true that I started clenching my teeth in my sleep on the worst days of the correction.

I notice that it is worse when I am with my parents. They recently retired to Suffolk; I’m from Kingston and we lived near the highway and I’m used to the roar. Then, in London, I got used to the universal anonymous slob. But in the countryside, the silence made me aware of the bell, and I stayed awake listening to it. The idea of ​​spending the rest of my life listening to that noise came back to my mind.

What annoyed me the most was the “just try to ignore it” advice I got from some. How about I buy a flute and follow you around all day playing one note? You should try to ignore it. It began to seem to me that I had invented everything. Maybe I had. After all, I had no idea what other people were hearing. Perhaps what I heard, everyone heard. Did I know what silence was?

Then one day in a pub I was sitting next to a friend I had known for about six years. I watched him snap his neck like I had learned to do through YouTube videos. He always did this as long as I knew him, but I never paid much attention. Beer in hand, I asked him why. He said that after a car accident a few years ago, he had a headache and needed a tap on his neck. He said he felt a gentle pain in the back of his head and in his temples. These symptoms were not unknown to me: I also had them at times. He ventured the question: “Do you also have tinnitus?” “Yes,” he replied. I am not ashamed to admit that I laughed out loud with joy – someone else! It was a kind of confirmation and recognition; the end of loneliness.

“It never goes away,” he said, “but sometimes it’s easier than other times, and that’s the best. You get used to it.”

From that point on, I stopped trying to figure out what the reason was. Maybe something to do with my neck combined with clenching my jaws. But it didn’t matter much. I had ruled out all physiological problems – at least as far as the tumor was concerned – and as far as I could see it wasn’t affecting me too much. It’s been about a year, and sometimes I can go days or weeks without even noticing the ringing – although it’s definitely always there; I just have to actively listen to it.

In the end, surprisingly, the ENT doctor was right: No one knows exactly what causes it – although loud noises are heavily linked to many cases – and there is no cure. People have reported experiencing it as early as 1600 BC, and more than 200 conditions have been linked to its development.

In accordance with Dr. Eldre Bukes, a tinnitus expert at England’s Ruskin University, it’s also not fully understood. No one even knows exactly how sound is made. Cognitive behavioral therapy (TGS) is sometimes offered to help patients cope with it, and British Tinnitus Association also offers helpful ways to learn how to cope with this condition. But in the end, that’s what it’s all about: coping. Maybe some connection with sleepand Elon Musk seems to believe that his upcoming Neuralink brain implant will be able to do just that cure him within five years – But there is nothing yet.

It’s time to move on and learn to live with it. For me, it goes like this: whenever I notice it’s louder, I just accept it and move on. I refuse to dwell on it. If it’s particularly loud, I’ll put in my headphones and listen to music. “Just ignore it,” I guess.

It’s easier said than done, but for me obsessing over it and obsessing over it is worse than the actual sound – that’s what made me anxious, it kept me up at night. Some days I crave real peace and fear that one day it will get worse, but learning how to deal with it and meeting other people with this condition can be healing.


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