Tinnitus causes one in seven sufferers to have suicidal thoughts, research suggests – as more than seven million Britons including Susanna Reid and Chris Martin experience relentless ringing or buzzing in their ears
- Tinnitus is a condition which can cause sufferers to get ringing or buzzing in ears
- People hear sounds similar to a dentist’s drill, fire alarm or jet engine in their ears
- But 15 per cent of sufferers said their condition had led to thoughts of suicide
Relentless tinnitus causes one in seven sufferers to have suicidal thoughts, research has found.
The condition, which can cause ringing or buzzing in the ears as loud as a jet engine, affects 7.1million Britons.
Sufferers include Daily Mail columnist and Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid, Coldplay singer Chris Martin and Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am.
British Tinnitus Association research found 15 per cent of sufferers said the condition had led to thoughts of suicide.
Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am is a sufferer of tinnitis. It can be triggered by normal hearing loss caused by ageing or from loud noise, which is why music stars are vulnerable
One in five told the charity they think about it ‘every few minutes’ or ‘every waking moment’.
The BTA is now calling for increased funding to find a cure. Currently there are few treatments, with doctors generally only able to recommend hearing aids, recorded sounds or counselling and relaxation techniques, which do not work for everyone.
Sufferers include Daily Mail columnist and Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid. She is pictured above at the National Television Awards 2020 last week
Hearing aids can help because experts believe that when people cannot hear properly their brain creates its own internal noise to fill the silence.
David Stockdale, of the BTA, said: ‘It is a travesty that tinnitus, with its huge mental health impact, receives 40 times less funding than comparable conditions like depression or hearing loss. We need more research to help find a cure, and to find ways of properly diagnosing tinnitus.’
Tinnitus most affects people aged 55 to 75.
It can be triggered by normal hearing loss caused by ageing or from loud noise, which is why music stars are vulnerable.
It can also affect people following car accidents or head injuries.
The BTA surveyed 1,620 sufferers, finding 57 per cent had lived with tinnitus for more than five years. Half said they felt sad more often since developing tinnitus.
People described hearing sounds similar to a dentist’s drill, fire alarm, jet engine and clashing cymbals in their ears, with women more likely to hear multiple sounds.
Alternatives to hearing aids include distracting recorded noises such as wind and sea sounds or attempts to manage stress with yoga, mindfulness or counselling.
Mother-of-two Claire Eveleigh, 34, told how she suffered from suicidal thoughts after developing tinnitus last July – apparently triggered by listening to music at home.
The hairdresser, from New Milton, Hampshire, said every day since she has been forced to contend with a deep droning hum in her ears and a painful high-pitched squeal.
Miss Eveleigh said: ‘I was very scared and thought my two young children would be better off without me. I couldn’t focus on them – I was too preoccupied with listening to these horrible sounds.’
She added: ‘There’s no peace, you can’t escape it – it’s with you everywhere you go, all day long.’ She now does yoga and meditation to try to cope.
The BTA is calling for £7.5million a year – one-hundredth of the cost of treating tinnitus – to be spent on research to find a cure, and has set up a petition on the website change.org.
For confidential support, call Samaritans on 116 123 or go to the website www.samaritans.org
People described hearing sounds similar to a dentist’s drill, fire alarm, jet engine and clashing cymbals in their ears, with women more likely to hear multiple sounds [File photo]
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