I was first aware of having tinnitus when I was about 14, about 30 years ago. I thought everyone had it, that it was part of growing up. Yes it bothered me, it was horrible, but I just lived with it.
But over the years, as the volume increased, I found I was living with a long-term type of worry. It wasn’t a deep depression, but it was constant, and I became very cautious about doing things, like a timid puppy that backs off when you approach it. Because I was less tolerant of loud sounds, I would avoid things like going to really noisy places.
About five years ago, I saw a talk show on TV with a fellow who used to be in “Star Trek.” They were discussing tinnitus. It was the first time I’d put a name to it – and I am still amazed that I didn’t know what it was!
A little later at a local festival, I saw a product using music where they claimed they could cure tinnitus. It was expensive for what you get (a tape recorder and a pack of two cassettes), but I was worried, so I said, “Sign me up.” I did 600 hours of it and it didn’t do a thing. It was very disappointing.
Then I went to a dentist who told me about a jaw realignment treatment. It was several thousand dollars, but when you’ve got tinnitus and someone says they can cure it, it’s a pretty good feeling, so you do it. The first stage of the treatment involved a little plastic plate, which you wear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of your life. But your treatment doesn’t stop there: you then have to rebuild your teeth and it all costs more money. I couldn’t believe it – and I couldn’t do it!
I also heard about another treatment that involved cutting the ear drums. I thought about it because you think about anything, but I decided not to do it.
About two or three years later, I saw Dr. John Darcy on television covering a story about Neuromonics. The incredible thing, the thing that I found just unbelievable, was that there were people out there who cared! To me that was just amazing. I called Neuromonics and started the treatment.
The treatment is pleasurable to listen to; it’s effortless. You can attend to other things while you do it and I usually go for walks while I’m listening.
My life has changed. The tinnitus has decreased unbelievably. My tolerance to loud sounds has improved so much I can stand on a street corner and watch a loud truck go by and it won’t hurt anymore.
I’ve become happier because I know at long last I’m getting rid of this thing and the depression is gone. I’ve got a real zest for living. I do volunteer broadcasting in community radio. I grab the drum sticks and play my drums. I’ve bought a Vespa and love riding it! I feel like I’ve got my life back.