Birmingham couple to walk 2,650 miles to help people with tinnitus

Lara and Phill are raising funds for us by walking the Pacific Crest Trail – a 2,650 hike from Mexico to Canada.

By Joanna March · April 3, 2023

Phill, 55, and Lara Brewer, 45, from King’s Heath, are setting off on this once-in-a-lifetime challenge to raise funds so the charity can support other people who, like Phill, live with tinnitus every day. 

Lara said: “Phill has suffered from tinnitus for over 15 years.  

“He woke up with it one day, and aside from one brief (and bittersweet) break it never went away. It makes him feel at the centre of an unstable bubble of sound, which is like an out of tune television on its loudest setting that never switches off.  

“The sound moves around him and often changes in frequency and pitch. It disturbs his sleep and is massively intrusive.”  

One in seven adults are affected by tinnitus – which is a debilitating condition that causes the perception of noise when there is no external source.  

Tinnitus affects 7.6 million people in the UK. There is currently no cure for the condition. 

Lara added: “We hope by sharing our journey we can inspire others to follow their dreams, no matter what these might be. We also dream of a cure for tinnitus, and if we can help (even a small part) by raising some awareness and fundraising then sharing our story and taking on this challenge is worth it.” 

The often-gruelling hike, which will take almost six months to complete, will take Phill and Lara through California, Oregon and Washington, where they’ll trek through miles of blisteringly hot desert, over snowy mountain passes, and through deep forest.  

The couple, who will be wild camping for most of their challenge, are looking forward to the brief break Phill will get from his tinnitus while raising vital funds for the charity. 

Lara said: “Camping out under canvas provides some respite at night with the sound of the rain and the wind on the tent helping to detract from the noises in his Phill’s head. And hiking in beautiful landscapes provides a focus which also helps detract distract from the noise.” 

Daisy Mankee, Regular Giving and Legacies Manager at Tinnitus UK, said: ”We’re absolutely thrilled that Lara and Phill have chosen to fundraise for the charity by taking on this incredible challenge. 

“We’re so excited to follow along with their adventures and I know we, and the wider tinnitus community, will be wishing them the very best of luck over the next six months or so. We can’t thank them enough.”