ONE in three people experience tinnitus at some point in their life, and the first week of February sees Tinnitus Week come to help raise awareness of the common issue.
The event, which began last year and takes place in the first week of February, was set up by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) and aims to spread awareness on the hearing issue.
According to the association, at least one in three people will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, with one in eight living with it persistently.
Louise McGlen, from the North East organisation Deaflink, specialises in offering support to those who suffer with tinnitus, and believes it is important to highlight any misconceptions that people have.
She told SR News: ”At the moment it is thought there isn’t a cure as everyone’s tinnitus presents differently, but its definitely there. A lot of people think its imagined, but its caused by issues somewhere in the ears and the brain’s receptors to sound.”
McGlen had also noticed that the day to day stresses of the pandemic have affected the people she works with and added: ‘‘A lot of people in our group are saying that because everything has changed and they are more stressed that their tinnitus has got worse.
”A couple have struggled with their work, being more aware of background noise has made the tinnitus louder for some people.”
Recent studies found that more people have suffered with their tinnitus as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In November, the Frontiers in Public Health journal found that 40 per cent of 3,000 people who had symptoms of Covid-19 also reported that their tinnitus had worsened.
Nicola West, from Cleadon, has suffered with tinnitus since childhood and welcomed the idea of Tinnitus Week.
She said: ”When I was young I assumed that everybody heard what I heard, not knowing any different. It was not until when I was older that I realised what tinnitus was.
”It sounds like a great platform to get the information I didn’t have at a young age.
”My tinnitus is always there, and it’s more exaggerated on an evening when I’m in bed or in stressful times, which has been a lot more apparent of recent.”
The British Tinnitus Association are encouraging others to talk about their journey through the #ThisIsMySilence social media campaign over the week, and are posting their own content on tinnitus through their social media platforms.