Former Allo Allo star Vicki Michelle is raising awareness of tinnitus by revealing her recent diagnosis with the condition.

Since a blow to the head during a live TV show, the 65-year-old actress has been suffering from hearing constant noises in her head. Now Vicki is raising awareness for other sufferers.

The effects of tinnitus

She said: ‘Since being knocked on the head I felt really unwell for weeks. I visited my GP as I was feeling very dizzy and off-balance, with a continuing buzzing in my head like TV interference, and was told it was a problematic side effect from the blow to the head.

‘But things didn’t improve. The constant buzzing or high pitched sound in my ears were affecting my sleep and making my job much harder. I decided to visit someone who specialises in ear health to put my mind at ease. It was when I visited Specsavers Audiologists that I was diagnosed with tinnitus.

‘Tinnitus is a very annoying illness which unfortunately affects 10% of the UK population. The severity and sounds heard by tinnitus sufferers vary from person to person, but for me it’s a constant buzzing.’

Subjective tinnitus

Mark Edgar, Specsavers audiologist who diagnosed Vicki said: ‘Tinnitus is an extremely common problem, although the exact cause of it is still unknown. It is a symptom – rather than a disorder or disease – that affects a person’s nerve pathway between the ear and the brain.

‘Vicki has been experiencing subjective tinnitus, which means that she is the only person who can hear it. In Vicki's case it is likely that a head trauma has caused her tinnitus.

‘Damage to the inner ear cells can cause tinnitus as tiny, delicate hairs in the inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from the ear – the auditory nerve – to the brain. The brain interprets these signals as sound if the hairs inside the inner ear are bent or broken, and they can "leak" random electrical impulses into the brain, causing tinnitus.

‘Our fully qualified audiologists can offer advice on tinnitus, or for more severe cases, can make a referral to a medical specialist.’

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