A brain tumour survivor is sharing his story of living with tinnitus as a side effect of this devastating disease, during Tinnitus Week 2024 (5th to 11th February).
Father of three Rich Morris, from Brockworth in Gloucester, was diagnosed with a meningioma in March 2023 after three years of living with pulsatile tinnitus and experiencing blurred vision.
Rich, 40, a gardener, said: “The pulsatile tinnitus started in 2019 and sounded like a heartbeat in one ear, which was noticeable when I was in a quiet room or after exercise. I went to the GP to get it checked, who referred me to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT).
“My appointment kept getting pushed back during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was waiting for almost two years, still with the subtle thump in one ear.”
A scan revealed a 5cm mass on Rich’s brain. He underwent a seven-hour operation to remove it and is now being monitored with yearly scans.
Following surgery, the pulsing in Rich’s ear subsided and his vision improved, and just three months later he cycled 274 miles in a month to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.
But for one in seven people living with tinnitus in the UK, quality of life can be greatly affected. It can present as ringing, buzzing, clicking, roaring, hissing or humming in the ear and the severity varies, in some cases causing distress, affecting concentration, difficulty sleeping and depression.
Tinnitus can be a symptom of brain tumours, and together with hearing loss, dizziness, facial numbness, difficulty swallowing and headaches, is a particular red flag for acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma.
Our Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth is one of Europe’s leading research institutes with a strong focus on low-grade tumours, including acoustic neuroma.