Cumbrian tinnitus sufferer dreams of peace and quiet

Published: Tue Jul 15 2008

As many other tinnitus sufferers will be aware, limited funding is going into research to develop a cure or treatments, which is disheartening when people like Harry are robbed of even the most simple of pleasures – peace and quiet.

Harry, 54, has actually noticed a reduction in his tinnitus over the last 12 months and has experienced more ‘quiet periods’ recently. But the noise seems to get worse for him when he has problems with his neck brought on by stress and bad posture. The current lack of knowledge about tinnitus means that the link between tinnitus and neck or jaw problems cannot be fully explained.

A visit to his local surgery indicated to Harry that few GPs have a good knowledge of tinnitus, but thankfully his problem was not ignored. "My doctor wasn’t that clued up about tinnitus but was very supportive, as was the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department at my local hospital. But I have realised how little treatment and support is available for sufferers," says Harry.

"Postural work on my neck through physiotherapy has been a real help, alongside regular exercise. I also use a radio at night, tuned between stations to create a soothing ‘shh’ sound, which if kept just below the tinnitus noise helps reduce its impact; This is crucial to help me get to sleep. It’s important not to dwell on the tinnitus or listen out for the noise either," says Harry. "I also think that avoiding sound-proofed rooms, or silence in general, is crucial to the habituation process."

As a Skills Tutor working with people with learning disabilities, Harry misses the quiet that he needs in order to concentrate.
"Tinnitus affects my life in many ways but I particularly used to value peace and quiet when doing my work," says Harry. "Now, if I am in a quiet room, I just become more aware of my tinnitus.

I hope that raising awareness of tinnitus will help enable sufferers to be treated better, but what I’d really like is just to be rid of it."

To non-sufferers of tinnitus, Harry’s message is simple, "Lucky you! Some people look at tinnitus in a very dismissive way because they don’t understand it and can’t see it. If they only knew how debilitating it is, they would view it very differently indeed," he says.

Deafness Research UK is the country's only charity dedicated to finding new cures, treatments and technologies for the deaf, hard of hearing and other hearing impaired people including tinnitus sufferers.

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, said: "Nearly five million people in the UK are affected by tinnitus and it can have a devastating effect on their quality of life. Not enough is known about this very complex condition and we are determined to do something about it. We are committed to funding leading edge research and providing practical information to health professionals for the benefit of sufferers," she added.

‘Deafness Research UK has produced a useful guide called ‘Managing Tinnitus’. To receive a copy telephone 0808 808 2222 or email For information on research into deafness and other hearing conditions, log on to the website,’

Press enquiries
Jon Gardner, BeyondPR. Direct line 0114 275 6996. Mobile 07930 697773. e-mail:
Ref: DRUK0058 - Harry Brannigan
Contact Name: BeyondPR
Contact Email:

Visit website »