Support How do other people deal with tinnitus? Gordon's story Gordon Wright got in touch to share the story of his tinnitus, and we were keen to find out more about his rock and roll days. I was born in 1942. By the time I was 15 the rock and roll years had started. I bought myself a £6 guitar and tried to copy my favourite singer, Buddy Holly. By 20, I had an electric guitar and a 15 watt amplifier, playing at a volume that brought the neighbours round to complain. Eventually I found work with local dance bands playing at wedding receptions, works dances, etc. I would sit in front of my amplifier and sing and play all the pop songs of the day as the kids jived on the dance floor. I saved up enough money to buy myself a second-hand Ford Cortina and installed a radio to listen to popular music and keep up to date with all the new songs. This may have been my downfall: listening to loud music in a confined space. Suddenly I developed a loud hiss in my left ear. I consulted my GP who prescribed a decongestant, which didn’t help, so I was sent to our local infirmary for further investigations. Various tests were carried out including an X-ray before I was diagnosed as having developed tinnitus and given the address of the local support group. I attended a few meetings where I met other sufferers, including a lady who told me she was suicidal due to the intensity of her tinnitus. I always worried that my condition might deteriorate and one morning I awakened to a loud gushing sound. I was horrified and lay for some time wondering how on earth I was going to cope. When I got out of bed and walked into the hall I realised the carpet was soaking wet. The gushing sound was coming from under the floorboards. I phoned the water board who promptly sent an engineer who fixed the burst main water pipe and the gushing sound stopped. What a relief! It wasn’t my ears after all! As I matured, I turned from rock and roll to modern jazz and loved to attend concerts. I often had to leave if the volume was too high – even when wearing my ear protectors. I was always aware that high decibels could harm my hearing and I wasn’t prepared to take any chances. My tinnitus has not deteriorated over the years and now comes and goes. When I am tired or stressed it can be at its worst. Sudden loud noises can set off a whine, which will eventually fade away. Occasionally I hear a sound like gushing water. Alas, my hearing has deteriorated and I now wear two hearing aids. I don’t attend concerts anymore and I avoid noisy gatherings where the volume is likely to be unbearable. I still play the guitar for my own amusement, enjoy reading and writing poetry and spend as much time as possible outdoors with my family in good weather. I’ve become used to my tinnitus and don’t normally hear it unless I think about it. The trick is to keep busy with whatever you enjoy doing in an environment that isn’t going to harm your hearing. Gordon's poem is from his new collection 'The Book Club for Bitter Hearts & Other Poems', available from Gordon Wright, 25 Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 2NQ. for £6.00 incl. P+P.