The first person to talk to is your GP. You may need to be referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon or an Audio vestibular Physician, who will rule out any medical factors, assess your hearing and probably give you some information about what tinnitus is and how best to manage it.
Some hospitals have hearing therapists or specially trained audiologists who are available to offer more support if you need it.
The most important thing to do is to keep doing the things you enjoy. If you start living your life differently to accommodate the tinnitus, it’s just going to seem more of a problem. You may need to do things differently, for example reading with some background music on, but it’s important that you do them nonetheless.
When you first experience tinnitus, you may naturally be worried and very aware of this new sound. We constantly monitor our bodies and if anything changes, we become aware of the changes. Hearing tinnitus for the first time can be quite frightening if you think it means that something is wrong with you, or that it might change your life. It’s a new sensation and you need to give yourself time to adapt.
Most people find that their tinnitus does seem to settle down after this initial period, even without doing anything in particular. You might hear this being referred to as habituation. It’s a bit like walking into a room with a noisy fan or air conditioner. Initially, it seems really loud and then after a while, you stop noticing it as much. Tinnitus can often be much the same initially, it’s more noticeable but you gradually notice it less than you did.
The first time you realize it’s in the background is a great moment it confirms that there are times when it’s less noticeable, which means you should be able to keep doing the things that you enjoy doing.