BETTY Hawthorn has suffered from tinnitus for as long as she can remember - but all her life she has been determined not to let the condition get her down.
The 83-year-old, from Charnock, Sheffield, experiences a constant buzzing noise in her ears, but says she has managed to deal with the sounds by ‘staying calm and collected’.
She passes on her advice at a regular tinnitus support group which meets on the second Wednesday of every month, at St Matthew’s Rooms on Carver Street in Sheffield city centre.
“I can’t actually put my tinnitus down to anything, but as a child I always had problems with my ears and that’s probably caused it,” said Betty, a retired secretary.
“In a way, I’m lucky that mine is a buzzing noise, because some people have horrendous sounds, bells going and all sorts.” The support group started as the Sheffield Tinnitus Association in 1980, and Betty joined in 1988.
“It’s very useful, we have about 60 members at the minute. We have a guest speaker and we sit and chat and forget about our tinnitus for an afternoon. I’d like to see more people coming, I’d be very sorry to see it go.
“People get all their information from hospitals now, but it’s not the same as meeting others with tinnitus.”
As well as attending meetings, Betty takes calls on a tinnitus helpline for people in Sheffield.
“If you stay cool, calm and collected you can cope - I know it’s very easy for me to say that but it’s hard to carry out. I always tell them not to listen for it, either.
“In the morning, when you wake up, it’s always worse, but soon it’s back down to its normal level. If you’re stressed it makes it worse, too.”
The support group’s meetings run from 1.30pm to 3.15pm, and the helpline number is 0114 239 6708.
A new group is also being set up in Rotherham at the Community Health Centre on Greasbrough Road, with the first meeting taking place on February 27 at 1pm. To reserve a place call 01709423207.