Most people with tinnitus are helped by hearing aids. However, some people find that hearing aids don’t help. Indeed these people sometimes find their tinnitus to be extremely distressing.
In his book, “I See a Voice” Jonathan Ree describes the particular problem of Dr Daniel Paul Schreber’s experience with tinnitus. Dr Schreber wrote a memoir in 1902 to try to prove his sanity and to secure his release from an asylum in Leipzig. He explained how his troubles had begun several years before, “as he found himself assailed by scratching and crackling noises” whenever he tried to get some sleep. At first he thought they were caused by mice behind the walls. But then he established that there were certainly no mice in his house. And yet he could still hear the crackling and scratching when he went to bed. Dr Schreber kept hold of his scientific objectivity. However. ‘Having heard similar noises innumerable times since then… I have come to recognise them as undoubted divine miracles,’ he wrote coolly. There were mysterious patterns in the sound to, which he concluded must be fragments of speech in ‘nerve-language’, repeated over and over again inside his head: he was reminded, he said, of ‘a child learning a poem by heart’. And then there were the ‘wandering clocks that is to say souls of departed heretics… preserved for centuries under glass in medieval cloisters… who announced their survival by the vibration connected with an Infinitely monotonous and doleful humming noise’. For seven years Schreber had to put up with this racket, night and day, but it only strengthened his resolve that ‘God must never succeed in his purpose of destroying my reason’.
He perhaps wasn’t far off on the “nerve language”. I’ll leave you to ponder on the rest
I hope times have changed, and that people with tinnitus are treated with more understanding universally. Our understanding of tinnitus is much more sophisticated.