Emma Walker (41), a mother of two small children who lives in west London, has been battling with tinnitus for the last six months. With the incessant, and at times, extremely loud noise in the right side of her head and ear, as well as occasionally in her left ear, at its worst Emma describes herself as having a complete meltdown which led to her being signed off work within days of her diagnosis.

Emma, who works as a business officer, said: “I had finished a busy day and sat down at home and then all of a sudden I heard a fizzle sound in my ear. It was loud but I just assumed it would pass. After a few days with the noise not any better at all, I just knew something was wrong. That’s when things began to unravel for me really.

“I went to the GP who diagnosed tinnitus and I was referred to ENT where they found no problem with my ears or hearing and I was left to deal with the horrible noise by myself. It slowly just started to take over my life and it was very challenging.

“I had a meltdown and couldn’t work. I just did not know how I was going to carry on living and functioning for my children with no escape from the noise in my head.

“I felt like the reaction I was getting from other people was that it was not dangerous and I was not going to die from it so I just had to get on with it, but that attitude just dismisses the condition and the impact it can have. You feel alone and as if the tinnitus is not as serious as you are making out, but there is just no escape from it.

“When I saw an audiologist I started to accept things a bit better and life has slowly become more positive. I am still working through the process, trying to find the techniques that make a difference for me. I’ve also gone back to work now and just try to keep myself as busy as I can.

“I am very early on in my journey but I am still finding it hard. The thought of 40 more years of this is bleak, it’s the simple things in life that I often can’t enjoy anymore and it taints your life. But I’m not as scared as I was, so hopefully things will improve for me as time goes by.”