“Because tinnitus is an unseen injury, it doesn’t get the attention it warrants”

Harris shares his experience of living with tinnitus

My name is Harris Tatakis, and I’m a former Royal Marine who was injured in Afghanistan. I was blown up in April 2007 when my Land Rover drove over an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast shattered my left leg, broke my right foot, ruptured both of my eardrums, caused brain damage and left me paralysed for two days. However, the tinnitus this explosion caused is the thing that’s affected me most.  

Because tinnitus is an unseen injury, it doesn’t get the attention it warrants. There is not enough understanding of how life-limiting tinnitus can be – the need for low background noise to distract you combined with constantly keeping yourself occupied to stop your brain focusing on the noises it’s being bombarded with, it’s hugely tiring.  

I was in hospital after the explosion and undergoing a lot of surgery – I needed to rest as much as possible so I could start to heal and get better. But while I was being given morphine for the pain, medication couldn’t do anything about the constant ringing in my ears which was affecting my ability to sleep or even try to relax. 

My tinnitus was horrendous and making me feel desperate and I was searching online every day for treatments. Eventually, I started receiving a mixture of Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy™ (TDT) and Levo® and they have reduced the intensity a lot. I am able to function a lot better and can live with the level. 

I was the first veteran in the UK to receive the treatment, which was funded through the Veterans Hearing Fund, after I successfully applied for a Royal British Legion grant to cover the cost of my treatment. 

There needs to be much greater understanding of tinnitus and the treatments available. People get told all the time there’s no cure and while that may well be true, there are treatments out there that can help make it much more manageable and easier to live with. 

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