Nic Wray smiling at cameraI first experienced persistent tinnitus in my early twenties, when I had a severe ear infection. Previously, I had had temporary spells of tinnitus following loud nights out listening to my favourite bands, but I'd always shrugged them off as the price of having a good time, and I'd always quickly recovered.

This time, it was different. It was loud, it was accompanied by pain from the infection, and it was incredibly difficult to cope with this. My GP uttered those words so many people hear, "You'll just have to learn to live with it" and somehow, I did - although I was tempted at times to hit my head against a wall to have something else to focus on! You have to remember that this was in the early days of the internet - no smartphones, hardly anyone had a PC never mind even a dial-up connection, and help and support was hard to come by.

Fortunately, I recovered and almost 20 years later joined the BTA, initially covering for my colleague Emily's maternity leave. It was then that I found out my father had had tinnitus since being a young man, caused by the noise of the drills and machinery in his first job as a coal miner. His tinnitus is still there, but fortunately he manages it well, and his attention is only drawn to it when I talk about my work to him. If I've ever spoken to you on the helpline, I might have used my dad's example to give you hope!

My temporary role at the BTA became permanent, and as Communications Manager - and editor of this very website - I'm in a great position to see all the good work the BTA does, and have watched it grow and expand during my time here. I've seen at first hand the difference our help and support makes to people with tinnitus, giving them confidence, knowledge and the tools to manage the condition. I've spoken to people who six months after first calling our helpline are almost different people - going from tearful and scared to positive and laughing. I've heard from people for whom our information leaflets confirmed that they were 'normal' and not alone. I've spoken at support groups and seen the communities that can be built. And I've witnessed the dedication and drive that researchers are bringing to the field, and the changes that are being made because of their findings.

None of this would be happening without the BTA. But the work we do wouldn't happen without the generous gifts left in people's Wills and from other fundraising activities. So, when it was time to draw up a Will recently due to buying my first house, I knew that I wanted to support the BTA, as well as other causes dear to me. It won't be a huge amount (you can leave a set sum or specify a percentage, with a minimum of 1%) but every penny helps, and I know how hard the BTA makes your money work.

It might seem odd to basically be giving back to my employer, but my family is taken care of, and I know there is still such a need for our work. We are needed not only for day-to-day support for sufferers but for research to finally find out the causes of tinnitus - and perhaps even a cure!

We are available to answer any questions you may have about leaving a gift in your will to the BTA. Please contact David Steele on 0114 250 9933 or [email protected]. If you do chose to leave a gift in your will to the BTA you can donate to overall tinnitus support, or dedicate this gift to a specific area of our work, such as the helpline or tinnitus research.