Amy Mclaughlin, age 11, from Midlothian.

(Amy is pictured above on the right)

In 2014, at the age of eight, I was diagnosed with tinnitus and hyperacusis. My ear problems started from the age of nine months old and are still on going.

I was in Ear Nose and Throat when I suddenly heard ringing in my ears and instantly put my finger in. My ENT specialist asked me ‘’what are you doing?’’ and I answered with “there is something is in my ear’’. But she had just examined my ear, and nothing was there. Then she told my mum that she was sure I had tinnitus and maybe hyperacusis!

My mum was shocked and did not know what to do. I got an appointment at the tinnitus clinic and only waited a month instead of waiting six months on the waiting list. My tinnitus specialist immediately gave me a sound ball which is called tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) for night time. It really helped me with sleeping through my tinnitus.

I was reviewed every six months for two years but at the start it was so hard. I would get so stressed out and have anxiety about doing things at one point I wouldn’t go to school because it was so annoying or I got sent home as the teachers did not understand my condition.

I would cry at night and wouldn’t sleep which kept my mum awake. As soon as I knew I had tinnitus, everything got so much better and soon I was discharged from the clinic. While I was there I came up with so many new strategies like my tinnitus jar which had things that I liked  to do to distract me from my tinnitus, I would shake it and pick one out and do it to distract me! I also made my running and dancing a distraction as well.

I joined deaf action in 2015 and it has made a big difference with my tinnitus. Alex, my youth worker, gave me a book for me when I write down my feelings and a stress ball and many more things. The group has helped me to make new friends and help me understand my ear problems.

The British Tinnitus Association also put me in touch with another girl around my age who has tinnitus. I have kept in touch with her over email which is helpful because it makes me feel that I am not the only child with tinnitus.

I have even created a presentation about hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis and delivered it to my class for tinnitus awareness week in February 2017. I felt amazing.

I thought tinnitus was for older people but it can hit at any age not just older ones. If you think you have tinnitus or have been diagnosed then try and find different groups for support, don’t fight it alone or don’t leave it to late like me.

   

Tinnitus Week runs from 5-11 February 2018 aiming to get the nation talking about tinnitus and highlight the stories of those living with it, particularly children and young people. For more information please visit the British Tinnitus Association’s website www.tinnitus.org.uk. You can also follow the hashtag #tinnitusweek on social media.

To download the new BTA resources designed for parents and teachers to understand more about tinnitus and to support children with the condition visit: www.tinnitus.org.uk/Pages/Category/tinnitus-in-children