On October 9, 2018, around nine o’clock, my phone exploded. “Peter, you’re on TV!” We quickly looked up NPO3… The program Sophie in de Mentale Kreukels was broadcast. A few months ago, during a meeting in the Vlietland hospital during the ‘Week of the Ear‘, Sophie Hilbrand made recordings for her series ‘Sophie in de Mentale Kreukels.’ This broadcast was dedicated to stress-related mental disorders, including tinnitus.
I’ll come into the picture with a few short statements about living with tinnitus, a condition I’ve had for a number of years. I have now learned to deal with this constant high-pitched ringing in my ear, but it is and remains super tiring.
In the days that followed, I noticed that the people who had seen the broadcast all had the same questions. I will try to answer this below. Just to summarize everything.
Conversations often start like this:
“I didn’t know that you had a ringing in your ear. I never heard you talk about that.”
Indeed, people who have a tinnitus condition do not flaunt it. I also try to deal with it as little as possible because it is difficult enough to hear such a high-pitched whistling sound in your head all day long.
Do you always hear this tone?
Of course. It’s never quiet. Not when I eat, not when I travel, and not even when I sleep; the beep is always there—deadly tiring, as you don’t really wake up rested after a good night’s sleep. The brain is constantly producing this signal, and the brain reads this tone as a signal of danger, so it creates constant stress!
Is that why you started Earproof?
No, that’s not the reason. I have to be honest, it started after, but this beep has motivated me to continue with even more. Everyone should use earplugs to prevent tinnitus or hearing damage as much as possible.
What does your beep sound like?
That is not easy to describe. Have you ever had a high-pitched ringing sound in your ears after a night out? So! Comparable to the tense sound of an old tube television: high, loud & f***ing irritating! Every time I walked out of the Roxy Amsterdam, I had a ringing in my ear and head. “Had a great evening,” I always thought, not knowing that you can also experience such a beep 24/7.
Where does a tinnitus beep come from?
This tinnitus is caused by a disturbance in nerve transmission. The functionality of the hair cells is damaged, and they forget their function. As a result, the brain does not know what to do with the sound and starts producing the sound itself, also known as ‘phantom sound.’
Can it be cured?
No, not as far as we know. Sometimes, complaints can be reduced, but they do not disappear completely and you have to live with it. Our credo is to protect your ears so you don’t get into trouble.
Living with Tinnitus, doesn’t it drive you crazy?
No, not anymore. I have accepted and embraced this beep. It belongs to me now. But when I am carried to the grave, I really hope for a “and then it was quiet.”
Really, if I had known that wearing earplugs helps prevent irreversible hearing damage and living with tinnitus, I would have paid ten million. The least I can do now is at least save ten million ears. Hence, our mission is ‘Saving ten million ears’!