My tinnitus is ‘worst it has ever been’ due to Covid crisis stress, says mum

Tinnitus sufferer Rebecca Edgar, 29, of Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, has not experienced coronavirus symptoms but is scared...

Tinnitus sufferer Rebecca Edgar, 29, of Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, has not experienced coronavirus symptoms but is scared the disease - if she were to contract it - could destroy whats left of her hearing. Picture: Rebecca Edgar/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Rebecca Edgar has suffered from the hearing condition - which causes a constant “high-pitched buzzing” sound and has left her deaf in one ear - since she was a child, following an infection in her cochlea.

Even though she has not contracted Covid-19, the stress of the pandemic has caused the ringing noise in her ear to get louder - increasing her strain on her further and causing a “vicious cycle”.

The 29-year-old said the condition had got so bad, she has struggled to hear her child and has had difficulty getting to sleep.

The microbiology laboratory technician added: “I’m so scared that catching Covid-19 could destroy what’s left of my hearing.”

Rebecca was speaking as Anglia Ruskin University research showed 40% of tinnitus suffers found their condition worsened with Covid-19 symptoms.

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“For the last 20 years I’ve had a constant high-pitched buzzing in my ear but there is no doubt that this is the worst my tinnitus has ever been,” she said.

“I’m also worried about my family.

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“My husband, parents and siblings are all key workers and some of them have health conditions that put them at extra risk, so that’s a constant source of worry - it’s sent my stress levels through the roof.

“My tinnitus has got so loud that I’m now struggling to hear my toddler when he talks to me from the back seat of the car and it’s making it harder and harder for me to fall asleep.

“It’s a vicious cycle too because the more I worry about my tinnitus, the louder it gets and that increases my stress further.

“People just don’t realise that tinnitus is so much more than just an annoying sound - it impacts on every aspect of your life and it stops you from doing what you want to do and being who you want to be.

“I am so hopeful that we can develop a vaccine for Covid-19 and I really hope that we can also find a cure for tinnitus.

“It would completely transform my life.”

David Stockdale, chief executive of the British Tinnitus Association and a co-author of the Anglia Ruskin University study, said: “With the second wave of Covid-19 and the resulting national lockdown likely to increase feelings of stress and isolation, it’s vital that we don’t see the same mistakes as before when it comes to community health provision for people with tinnitus.

“Poor treatment of tinnitus in the early stages often leads to much worse cases and severe tinnitus can have a huge impact on mental health.

“With this in mind, as the Covid-19 second wave takes hold, the healthcare system needs to ensure that anyone who develops tinnitus or experiences a worsening of their condition can access the professional healthcare support they need as quickly as possible.”

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