Mike Joyce is best known as the drummer in the infamous rock band, The Smiths

Mike is lending his support to our Share Your Sound Campaign, helping raise awareness of tinnitus, which he has lived with himself for almost a decade.

"No one ever talked about tinnitus back in the day. We knew loud music could damage your hearing – and it has – but nobody ever mentioned the word tinnitus, so when the ringing in my ears started, it didn’t cross my mind. I could hear this noise one night, so I went down to the kitchen to see if it was coming from there. I looked all over to try and find a cause, but the noise didn’t get any louder, no matter which direction I went in. The next night, the same thing happened and I realised then that the noise was in my head.”

 

Searching for answers, Mike went to his GP who gave him a hearing test.

“After a lifetime of drumming I wasn’t surprised to find out my hearing had suffered, but when I mentioned the tinnitus I was simply told there’s no cure and that I had to get used to it. That’s quite a difficult pill to swallow if your tinnitus is extremely disruptive and loud, but luckily mine at that time was manageable. I was fitted with a hearing aid to help with that side of things, but they could do nothing for the tinnitus, I was told.

So, I continued on with my life for ten years, putting up with the ringing sound and taking extra precautions with my hearing when I played.”

However, during the last year, Mike’s tinnitus has worsened, causing the drummer to seek further help and urge others with the condition to share their stories to raise awareness.

“It’s now at the stage where it’s affecting my wellbeing. It’s there all the time, but it’s particularly prominent when I’m in a quiet environment, such as out for a walk or late at night. I’m visiting a different GP now who is a specialist in tinnitus and who is able to refer me down the right path to find more effective ways of managing the condition. However, what my experience has shown me is that there is a scarily widespread lack of knowledge about tinnitus in general and we need to do more to make sure people who are living with the condition get the right help and advice that they need. I’m thrilled to be working with the British Tinnitus Association on this campaign to do just that, and hopefully my story will both serve as support for those who are living with the condition but feel isolated, and highlight to those who – like me – love loud, live music, that taking care of your hearing is crucial.”

 

To find out more about Share Your Sound and to download a GP tinnitus support pack to share with your GP, please visit www.tinnitus.org.uk/sys.