Aisling shares her experience of how her tinnitus changed after she contracted Covid-19 in September 2020.

"My tinnitus journey began about 2 and half years ago, a split second after giving birth to my son. I have pulsatile my good ear!

At the time I thought, it’ll pass, it’s probably because of my lengthy labour, but it never did. I went through all the usual channels; GP, audiology, ENT, MRI. Luckily for me, my line of work meant I already had some information on how to manage my tinnitus. That coupled with having a new-born (i.e. being too busy to think about it, and severe lack of sleep) it never affected me negatively and I eventually reached habituation.

 It was louder than it had ever been

In September 2020 I contracted Covid 19. The attack on my ears was the worst symptom I got. No temperature, no continuous cough etc. I suffered severe pressure to my ears and my tinnitus came back....with a vengeance. It was louder than it had ever been. On a scale of 1-10 it went from a 3 to a 7.

At first I thought it was due to stress, I was worrying about who I had been in contact with, have I put them at risk, how it would affect my family, who would look after my son if I ended up hospitalised? But no, the tinnitus was here to stay and 8 months later it’s still here, louder than it has ever been.

 It was a massive relief for me knowing that it wasn’t just me

I started googling straight away but no answers. I didn’t know anyone who had tinnitus and had contracted Covid to ask. Was this just me?

It wasn't until I had taken part in the BTA Conference in October that finally I realised I wasn't alone. This was a common side effect for those who already had tinnitus and then contracted Covid. It was a massive relief for me knowing that it wasn’t just me, I wasn't imagining it and this wasn’t the noise of my stress.

As a co-facilitator of a tinnitus support group, not only did I have the skill sets to manage my tinnitus and live with it, I found it of major importance to share my story with as many people as I could, so they wouldn't feel like I did. Please remember, there is support and help out there, you are not alone."

There are a network of tinnitus support groups across the UK who offer support around better managing your tinnitus and providing an opportunity to meet (online and face to face) to get inspiration from others living with tinnitus.