In the hear and now: there is life after tinnitus in your 30s

Ideas

In the hear and now: there is life after tinnitus in your 30s

As a relatively young hearing aid wearer, Samantha Baines hopes her children’s book will help banish the stigma

Luke Mintz

Samantha Baines was just 30 when she noticed a peculiar whooshing noise in her ear. An actress and stand-up comedian, Baines first heard the sound at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016, when she was sitting next to a speaker at a particularly loud concert.

“I heard this weird noise in my ear,” remembers Baines, who has starred in Netflix’s The Crown and ITV’s Call the Midwife. “It’s like if you fanned something quickly next to your ear, and you can hear the wind moving. I ignored it at first, but kept hearing it in loud environments, anytime I was in a noisy restaurant or a club, or it got too loud on the Tube.”

A natural hypochondriac, Baines became convinced there was a spider scuttling around inside her ear, after watching a series of gruesome videos on YouTube. At the advice of a GP she went to an audiologist who diagnosed her with hearing loss and tinnitus, a condition that makes people hear unexplained sounds in their ear. She was told she would need to wear a hearing aid...

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