Throughout his distinguished 23-year career in the Army as an air dispatcher, George Hilliar (53), from Teddington, Middlesex, battled tinnitus. He believes the condition, which for him is a very high pitched noise, was caused by the amount of time he spent in Hercules aircraft which are both very loud and encounter large vibrations.

As a younger man, he was fearful of ever admitting to medics that he had tinnitus in case he would no longer be able to fly so he lived with the condition as best he could but after leaving the Army in 2003, George, went to his GP. Here, as part of Tinnitus Awareness Week (6-12 February 2017), George tells his story.

George said: By 2012 my tinnitus became so unbearable I had to go to the GP and that was the first time I had ever sought help for it. I was referred to an ENT consultant who diagnosed me straight away with tinnitus and 1% hearing loss.

I find that when I have other things going on in my life such as the hip replacements or periods of depression my tinnitus is at its worst and that is when I have got to a really dark place. I do deal with it better than before but it is very hard when you are tired or feeling down to contend with the constant noise in your head too. It’s another thing I have to deal with.

It affects all areas of your life. I find social situations really hard as when the background noise levels increase it is difficult to listen to people so I tend to give up. Tinnitus is a very solitary condition as it makes you want to withdraw.

I’ve undertaken cognitive behavioural therapy and a long term health condition course and realised that of everything I am dealing with health wise it is the tinnitus that is the most constant, everything else I can deal with but the tinnitus does push you over the edge because it is there all the time.

Pilates, which I primarily do for my hips, helps my tinnitus, probably because I’m distracted whilst doing it as I am concentrating on something else. Tai Chi is also really good due to the relaxation element. I also listen to music, probably too loudly but sometimes you just need to get away from the noise.

I’m a 6ft 5 man who looks fit and healthy on the outside but inside I have a lot going on which makes my life pretty miserable at times. I just wish the tinnitus would go away.

The ‘Together for Tinnitus’ campaign is part of Tinnitus Awareness Week which runs from 6-12 February 2017. The week aims to get the nation talking about tinnitus, both amongst the general public and GPs, and highlight the stories of those living with it. For more information please keep visiting our site through the week.

Please do call our helpline on 0800 018 0527 if you need help or support, or visit the information section on this site. You may also find it useful to visit our new online resource www.takeontinnitus.co.uk.