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Tinnitus has no cure, and treatments range from relaxation techniques to cope with the associated anxiety, to sound therapy where sufferers are taught to a€?tune outa€™ the noise. Common ailment: Around five million people in Britain alone suffer with tinnitus at some pint in their livesHe turned to alternative therapies, and even considered surgery to cut his auditory nerve.
In older people, tinnitus is often caused by natural hearing loss, which makes the nerves less sensitive. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. If you manage this site and have a question about why the site is not available, please contact us directly. A trivial oversight, it might seem, but one that was to have tragic consequences.The day after the concert Mr McIndoe, 52, a management consultant and father of two from London, complained of a loud ringing in both ears. But scientists recently announced another weapon.The new treatment is a hand-held ultrasound device that is placed behind the ear for one minute. Exactly how it works is unclear, but developers believe the energy waves stimulate the auditory nerve, which is responsible for detecting sound, and the signals from this nerve a€?distracta€™ the brain from the tinnitus noises.The hope is that this device will prevent people from suffering in the same way as Robert McIndoe.
Finally he went to A&E in early November 2010, where he was prescribed sleeping tablets, and a doctor promised to fax his GP the following day. Other causes include a build-up of ear wax, infection, a perforated ear drum or a head injury.


The survey also found just 35 per cent of GPs provided information leaflets or referred patients to charity websites or self-help groups.a€?Thousands of tinnitus patients are being short-changed by their GPs,a€™ says David Stockdale of the British Tinnitus Association. Ita€™s designed to give temporary relief, and is currently being used in trials on 500 people. For three months after first visiting that rock concert, he was driven to distraction, unable to sleep or function properly at work.
The gadget is held against the skull behind the ear, and then emits a high frequency signal. He visited his GP three times and was referred to Kinga€™s College Hospital, London, only to be told they had no tinnitus specialist. There is a link with high blood pressure and narrowing of the arteries, and a small genetic risk. In many cases we can help.a€™Alex Warn has not been back to see a health professional about his tinnitus for nine years, learning instead to manage his condition using the radio to block out the noise at night, avoiding places with loud background noises such as pubs and parties and wearing ear plugs. Although the word tinnitus comes from the Latin for a€?ringinga€™, the noise can be a buzz, hum or even a whistle a€” heard in one ear, both ears or in the middle of the head. Despite his efforts he still struggles socially.He had no idea that sound therapy existed or that relaxation techniques can help to reduce the impact of the tinnitus.
He was desperate it would never change, and he didna€™t know if he could live.a€™ Tinnitus is caused by damage to the complex auditory pathways in the ears and brain.


Normally, sound passes from the outer ear through the middle ear and on to the inner ear, which contains the auditory nerve and the cochlea a€” a coiled, spiral tube with a large number of sensitive hair cells. But far too many people are being told that there is no cure without being told that we can still help them.a€?This approach can be actively harmful. If the cochlea becomes damaged, the auditory nerve will reduce the information it sends to the brain. Not only does it bring an instant feeling of defeatism, if your patient has depressive tendencies it can exacerbate feelings of despair.a€™ This is a situation that Alexander Warn, 30, an actor and stage technician from Plymouth, knows only too well. To compensate, the brain tries to a€?seek outa€™ signals from the areas of the cochlea still working. He was diagnosed with tinnitus when he was 21 although hea€™d actually experienced ringing in both ears since he was 16.
As the condition grew worse, he was diagnosed with depression and put on antidepressants.a€?I dona€™t think that the tinnitus caused my depression,a€™ he explains.
By the time I was in my final year at university I was stuck in my room staring at a wall, trying to lose the noise in my head.



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