Here’s a video about 10 things I’ve learnt in 10 years of living with tinnitus. If you don’t fancy watching the video, here’s everything I talk about below:
- That it is annoying, yes, but it’s more annoying when people say to you “oh that must be annoying”. The “annoying’ factor is something that is hard to get over, and maybe you won’t get over it, that’s ok.
- Stop apologising for it. People talk and hear very differently, if someone mumbles or the environment is noisy that’s not your fault that you can’t hear them so cut yourself some slack. I know I used to say “sorry could you repeat that” or “I’m so sorry I didn’t catch that” while yes it’s polite but by apologising every time I was making myself the problem in every situation.
- Wear earplugs when in noisy environments. Gigs, theatre shows and sometimes restaurants. This is good practice regardless of any hearing issues, protect what you have! The earplugs I have are the EarDial earplugs from amazon – I highly recommend.
- Don’t listen to music too loudly using headphones & limit how long for. I have AirPods and I have some Sony Over-Ear headphones. I tend to use a mixture of the two, I find when I’m at work at my desk and I’m listening to music for a long time during data analysis I’ll opt for the over-ear headphones but for commuting, exercise and train journeys I’ll use my AirPods.
- Know your triggers that aggravate it. For me, it’s anxiety, stress, loud noises, alcohol and coffee (I say coffee as I don’t think it’s the caffeine, I’m a big tea drinker and that doesn’t appear to affect me as much).
- Be kinder to yourself. This is important, it’s not your fault. Don’t get me wrong it can be very hard at times and sometimes you can get into some really low moods but that’s ok. Even if you’re handling it really well, you’re allowed off days but just try to be kinder to yourself.
- Not every streaming service has appropriate subtitles. This infuriates me! Some can be delayed or miss out half the sentence, it can be super frustrating and a lot of companies don’t seem to do anything about it. I have to say that Netflix is the best I’ve experienced but that’s likely due to the fact they’ve been around the longest. I’d be interested to know if there are any companies you think can do better in terms of their accessibility features.
- Restaurants are much noisier than they need to be. I’m all for ambience and background music but we really don’t need to be shouting at each other when trying to enjoy a meal. This is a big problem for a lot of companies, I know that Action on Hearing launched the Speak Easy campaign in 2016 to call out restaurants and bars for their noisy environments.
- Tell people sooner rather than later and try not to feel weird telling them. Also, so tell people when they’re being weird about it, I’ve had doctors/nurses in the past really over-exaggerate the way they talk to me because they’ve misinterpreted me saying I’m partially deaf. Just tell them, you have the right to own it and make sure that they are on the same page as you.
- Acceptance. This is one of the hardest things to do but it’s really important. You’re going to have good days and bad days but fighting it will likely result in more bad days than good. This isn’t a cure and treatments vary, it’s unlikely that there will be a magic pill that makes it all go away. Acceptance is key to moving forward with your life.
If you want to know more about my tinnitus please see my post about my tinnitus story, this post outlines what tinnitus is, my story of how I got tinnitus and what helps me. It’s full of useful links and information that will hopefully help you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post & video, let me know how you manage your tinnitus, how long you’ve had it and what you’ve learnt since having tinnitus.