Susan: "wear ear protection every single time."

© Caroline Riehl

© Caroline Riehl

When I came home from school that day, something was different. I wasn’t hurt, I didn’t feel sick, but something was off. This strange high-pitched sound had suddenly appeared in my right ear. And it was stronger than the temporary mild noise I would hear when coming home from a night clubbing. Yet I ignored it. I thought it would disappear during the night, like always.

But it didn’t.

What was that constant high-pitch sound that only I and no one else around me could hear? Was I going crazy? What was wrong with me? I hadn’t even listened to loud music, it didn’t make sense. I started feeling anxious thinking it could be serious. After some research, I found out that I wasn’t going crazy. I had an actual illness called tinnitus.

According to my doctor, I was born with an internal deformity that was causing this sound. So it wasn’t really my fault. She gave me a prescription for medicine I could try, but told me that if I wanted that sound to be gone for good, I would need to take it every single day for the rest of my life as there’s no permanent cure for it. I refused.

It’s been about 4 years now and the noise is still there. I’m actually hearing it right now. Even though I've kind of got used to it, it can still get louder and just generally more present when I’m stressed or going through tough psychological times. Listening to a similar tone in a song or video also feels extremely uncomfortable, almost painful. Even if I’m not fully responsible for getting tinnitus, listening to loud music for the last fifteen years didn’t help for sure.

The reasons behind its development might be diverse, but the result of tinnitus is pretty much the same for everyone. A constant high-pitch noise harassing you every single day. It’s there when you wake up, when you go to work, when you talk to people, when you read a book, when you go to sleep… Sure, you won’t die from it. But you can’t get cured either, at least for now.

Being young and healthy, most of us don’t realise how much damage we are doing to our body and when we do finally become conscious of that, it’s often too late. If you’re sane enough not to want tinnitus for the rest of your life, if you want to keep enjoying the music you love, the solution is simple: wear ear protection every single time.

Written by Susan Gillespie
Susan works works at Sea Shanty PR

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