Share Your Sound - Jamie speaks out! As part of our Share Your Sound campaign, we are encouraging people living with tinnitus to share their stories and seek support when they’re struggling – be it from the British Tinnitus Association itself, friends and family, other people living with tinnitus or, importantly, their GP. In our latest blog, TV personality and businessman, Jamie Laing, who has tinnitus himself, opens up about his fight against the condition, how far it has pushed him and why it is so important to ask for help. Tinnitus is a condition that knows no bounds and can affect people of all ages. It affects me massively and so many people around the world. Lots of people haven’t even heard of tinnitus before and it can be confusing because it affects people so differently. The ringing can be high or low or a static noise, for example, and can be heard in either ear or just one. My tinnitus is a high pitched ringing in both ears that never goes away, never subsides. It is simply always, always there. I was first diagnosed in early 2016 when one day I woke up and I could hear this constant ringing and I just couldn’t work out what the noise was. I was looking around the house trying to find where it was coming from and then I realised it was in my head. For the first four to six months it was pretty detrimental to my quality of life and, to be honest, tortuous at times. I was frustrated, depressed, and upset. I was sure there was something in my ear that had to come out which would make the noise go away. But it didn’t and eventually I went to my GP who diagnosed tinnitus. The condition can be caused by lots of different reasons such as ear infections or hearing loss. But my tinnitus has been caused by ear damage - too many clubs, too many gigs and listening to loud music too many times. It’s particularly awful because the more anxious and worried you get about it the more heightened the tinnitus gets which is very hard to deal with. If you obsess and focus on it, it makes it worse. But there is hope and I am an example of how you can turn things around and regain your quality of life. There are lots of things to help – the BTA website has scores of helpful resources and information on it, and some people find things like CBT or white noise therapy helpful. Despite the possibility of having tinnitus for the rest of my life, I am 100% better. The human body in an amazing instrument and I have got used to living with it. And this is why I was really keen to support the BTA’s Share Your Sound campaign. I want to let people know that there is support out there. For me, talking to others about my experience has really helped me on my road to recovery. I thought I was the only person in the world with this condition but once I started discussing it I soon realised I wasn’t and that helped change my mind set. Talk about it to your friends and family, get in touch with the BTA and most importantly see your GP so they can signpost you to the right places. To help GPs become more knowledgeable about the condition is also essential so please download the BTA Share Your Sound pack at www.tinnitus.org.uk/sys and take it to your GP so they have access to the most up-to-date advice on how to treat tinnitus patients. By getting the conversation started and informing each other, as well as medical professionals, we can make a real difference to improving the lives of people living with tinnitus. Over the last few years, Jamie Laing has carefully carved out a flourishing career in both television, radio and with his business ‘Candy Kittens’. Jamie started his career as one of the most celebrated cast members of E4’s ‘Made in Chelsea’ and has gone on to appear on a number of hit shows including First Dates for Stand up for Cancer, This Morning, Celebrity Juice and 8 out of 10 cats. Jamie also has a successful YouTube Channel ‘Jamie’s Happy Hour’, hosts his own radio show, Saturday mornings on HEAT radio and has a weekly podcast ‘Private Parts’. Jamie is currently taking part in the Channel 4 series 'Celebrity Hunted' in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.