Acoustic Sound Engineer Hanged Himself Fearing He Would Lose His Job When He Developed Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Health Talk' started by Danny Boy, Dec 18, 2015.

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    1. Danny Boy
      Cheerful

      Danny Boy Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      Acoustic sound engineer hanged himself after fearing he would lose his job when he developed chronic tinnitus
      • Dr Mark Lawson, 43, of Reading, found hanged at Cardinal Clinic, Windsor
      • He visited specialist unit for treatment for anxiety due to hearing condition
      • Inquest in Reading told he feared tinnitus was 'cause of everything wrong'
      • Friends described him as 'very intelligent, clever and caring man'
      By JOSEPH CURTIS FOR MAILONLINE

      PUBLISHED: 22:32, 15 December 2015 | UPDATED: 00:07, 16 December 2015
      428shares

      An accomplished acoustic sound engineer hanged himself after fearing he would lose his job after he developed chronic tinnitus, an inquest heard.

      Dr Mark Lawson, who had a PhD in acoustics, felt 'desperate' after developing the condition and feared he would have hearing problems 'for life.'

      The 43-year-old, of Reading, Berkshire, became extremely anxious about the ringing in his ears and refused to take medication to calm his mood for fear it would exacerbate the tinnitus.

      0578-3361517-The_inquest_at_Reading_Town_Hall_pictured_heard_Dr_Bedford_had_b-a-28_1450213434256.jpg


      +2
      The inquest at Reading Town Hall, pictured, heard Dr Bedford had become 'extremely anxious' about the ringing in his ears and refused to take medication for anxiety in case it made his condition worse

      He was voluntarily admitted to a specialist unit to treat his tinnitus-induced anxiety, but was found dead in his room five days later during the afternoon nurse changeover.

      Senior coroner for Berkshire Peter Bedford was told Dr Lawson had gone to see his GP in June reporting hearing problems, stress and sleeping problems.

      He was recommended an anti-depressant and referred for cognitive behaviour treatment but only took the drug briefly before blaming it for his worsening tinnitus.

      Dr Lawson had spent time in online tinnitus forums and would meticulously research any new drug medics prescribed, the inquest in Reading was told.

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      If he found tinnitus listed as a potential side effect, he would refuse to take the drugs, even though he had been persuaded to spend a few days at the private Cardinal Clinic in Windsor, Berkshire.

      Staff said he refused to recognise he was suffering from anxiety, instead demanding to see ear, nose and throat specialists or to be taken to A&E.

      Dr Maurice Atkins, a consultant psychiatrist, told the Berkshire coroner that Dr Lawson had constantly 'battled' with nurses, adding: 'I think he was trying to tell us that this tinnitus was always the cause of everything wrong with him.

      2F67C3AA00000578-3361517-image-a-36_1450213853273.jpg


      +2
      Pictured: The Cardinal Clinic in Windsor, where Dr Lawson was found dead by nurses

      'He felt that it had come on while at work and it seemed to be unremitting.

      'He felt it would stop him working. He was quite logical, he said with no salary, he'd lose his house.'

      The inquest heard Dr Lawson had blown a problem at work out of proportion, feeding into his worries he would lose his job and remained obstructive and resistant to treatment, taking his prescribed medications only very sporadically.

      On the day of his death he had taken a new pill to calm his anxiety, which Dr Atkins said he had largely given him as he simply wanted to offer him 'something he hadn't Googled.'

      However hours later nurse Dawn Clarke, carrying out one of the two hourly checks on Dr Lawson, found him dead in his unlocked bedroom.

      WHAT IS TINNITUS?
      Tinnitus is a term that describes any sound a person can hear from inside their body.

      It is often described as a ringing in the ears but the sounds that can be heard include buzzing, humming, grinding and hissing.

      Sometimes the sound beats in time with the person's pulse.

      The condition can cause sleeping problems and depression but, in itself, it is not harmful.

      The underlying cause is not known but it can be caused by earwax, an ear infection, stress, a head injury or exposure to loud noise.

      There is no single cure for tinnitus but sometimes it can be addressed by treating the underlying cause - for example, through removing earwax build-ups.

      Tinnitus is often worse in quite environments so some people benefit from listening to soothing sounds, such as the sound of the ocean.

      The condition is most common in people over the age of 65 but it can affect people of all ages.

      About 10 per cent of the population are thought to have the condition, though most have it mildly.

      Source: NHS Choices

      Despite the efforts of her colleague George Garang, emergency staff and a doctor from an air ambulance, he was unable to be saved.

      A post mortem examination gave a cause of death as hanging.

      Mr Bedford said it was clear Dr Lawson had been an intelligent man but had an obsessional nature.

      'It seems that he would not simply accept medical treatment without thoroughly researching it,' he said.

      'He was extremely reluctant to take medical advice and particularly to take medication.

      'His focus, particularly to the end of his life, was tinnitus. It appears he believed the medicines he had been given caused the tinnitus.

      'It seems to me there was a vicious cycle and that tinnitus was a symptom. It was particularly relevant to Mark because of working in acoustics. It's very credible to me that he would be extremely anxious about that.'

      The coroner said it was an 'awful irony' both that Dr Lawson had expressed thoughts of suicide to friends and family - but not to the medical staff trying to treat his crisis.


      Recording a conclusion of suicide, Mr Bedford said: 'It was a very confusing sequence of events with no obvious opportunity or signals that might in hindsight have raised concerns.

      'A shocking end with no obvious sign other than Mark's thoughts about tinnitus as a long-term problem and the effects on him personally.

      'The only reason Mark thought he was in the clinic was to treat the ringing in his ears.

      'The conclusion is that he took his own life while suffering from anxiety caused by his described symptom of unremitting tinnitus.'

      Speaking after the inquest a friend, who asked not to be named, said hearing problems would not have stopped Dr Lawson doing his job but would have made a difference to his work.

      'He was a very intelligent, clever and caring man,' he said.

      'He had a very brave face so it was very difficult to get to the reasons behind sometimes. He will be deeply missed.'

      No family attended the hearing.



      Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...developed-chronic-tinnitus.html#ixzz3ufqvUhdp
      Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
       
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    2. Mr. Cartman
      Artistic

      Mr. Cartman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      RIP Dr Mark Lawson.

      Thanks for sharing @Danny Boy !
       
    3. Danny Boy
      Cheerful

      Danny Boy Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      No problem. My deepest sympathies goes out to his family and friends. Such sad news.
       
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    4. Nick Pyzik
      Depressed

      Nick Pyzik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/23/15
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to in-ear headphones & playing in a band
      @dannyboy Thanks for posting this, it really is so tragic...

      "I think he was trying to tell us that this tinnitus was always the cause of everything wrong with him."


      Hmm, maybe people are going to realize one day that Tinnitus is not just an annoying ringing sound in the ears but it's the loss of nerves that gave you good feelings, had memories tied into them, and also causes the brain's plasticity to have to change so you can keep living with this constant noise everyday. I think Tinnitus is much more deeper than just ringing in the ears and researchers are finally starting to uncover how much more drastically deeper this ringing goes in the brain.

      No medical professional will look at Tinnitus as something that could be causing significant pain in ones life until we find out what it's actually doing to the brain and what our brain has to struggle with everyday.

      Good research in these articles so far:

      https://www.earq.com/news/tinnitus-and-emotions

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151214145956.htm

      http://mic.com/articles/130650/tinn...ian-can-actually-change-your-brain#.kmq9kJkeV
       
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    5. Sailboardman
      Frustrated

      Sailboardman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/21/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sensorineural hearing loss right ear.
      Those who claim, chronic, severe tinnitus and hearing loss, can't drive you insane, should read this article. At least Dr. Lawson, has no more worries about his Tinnitus. He's actually a lucky soul IMO.
       
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    6. dboy
      Jaded

      dboy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2007 & 8/2013
      I found this article really disturbing. It is hard to get the full picture from an article like this, and maybe the impression I got was incorrect. But reading it I kept getting the feeling that these people just wouldn't listen to what Dr Lawson was saying or take his concerns seriously. This in itself would surely have exacerbated his anxiety enormously.

      If his tinnitus was worsened by being giving an antidepressant (as many people's apparently is) then it is entirely natural that he would want to research any other drug they subsequently gave him. I've been burned in a similar way, and no way would I ever take a pharmaceutical again without researching it first. Many people on this forum have had their tinnitus caused or worsened by medical interventions. A lot of the things that they seem to list in this article as evidence of Dr Lawson's unreasonableness are in my opinion evidence that he actually had an intelligent understanding of his situation.

      I don't mean that taking his life was the right course of action, but he was obviously a very smart man and his doctors should have worked with him to address his concerns. From what is quoted here they seem more concerned to assert their right to decide what his problem was (anxiety rather than tinnitus) and what treatment he should have (pharmaceuticals that may exacerbate his tinnitus) without their reasoning or authority being questioned at all. To me, this is extremely worrying and very, very sad.

      The history of psychiatry is overflowing with stories of people destroyed by a profession that would not listen to them and thought it knew better. I sincerely hope that I am wrong in how I have read this article, and that my interpretation is not offensive to any family or friends that might read this. RIP Dr Lawson.

       
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    7. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Maintaining that this is 100% about tinnitus, is a failure to read the headline, let alone the article.

      He was afraid that his condition was going to make him unemployable in the field he had worked in for decades.

      Unemployment and fear thereof is a huge suicide risk factor. (http://www.theguardian.com/society/...s-45000-suicides-a-year-worldwide-finds-study).

      Some people tolerate chronic, loud, severe tinnitus and hearing loss without "going insane", for decade after decade. Other people "go insane" without tinnitus.

      I know a number of people with tinnitus so loud that it interferes with their ability to understand conversation at usual levels, and yet say they are not bothered by it and do not think about it very much. My tinnitus is certainly not so loud that it interferes with my ability to understand conversation at usual levels, and yet I am bothered by it significantly and think about it a lot.

      It's almost as if different people are wired differently, respond to things differently, and are able to tolerate different amounts of distress.
      The question this begs, from where I sit, is "if Mr. Lawson had lived in a world with a better social support structure, such that he did not fear that losing his job would cause him to become homeless, would he have decided to commit suicide?" -- and I don't see how you can read that article and not believe there's at least a huge, very significant chance that the answer to that is "hell no". Note that he did not apparently say to his friends, "I am worried that the noise in my head is going to drive me insane"; he said "I am worried that the noise in my head is going to cause me to lose my job and become homeless".
       
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    8. dboy
      Jaded

      dboy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2007 & 8/2013
      Not sure whether you mean me there? I wasn't maintaining anything really, just expressing sadness that he was not listened to more and his concerns addressed - all of them.

      I tried to find out a little more and came across these two articles that give a little more info:

      http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/re...reading-man-plagued-anxiety-tinnitus-10602974

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...-chronic-tinnitus-could-lose-him-his-job.html

      The second one is pretty much the same as the article Danny Boy posted, but does contain the following observation from the coroner that I thought seemed telling:

      "The only reason Mark thought he was in the clinic was to treat the ringing in his ears."
       
    9. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      No, sorry - I was responding to the thread at the same time you were.

      As for
      people with co-morbid severe anxiety or depression may not have the self-awareness to understand that's what's happening. When I've been at my suicidal worst I have likewise felt that tinnitus was my only problem... but here I am, with the same tinnitus, and without the suicidal anxiety.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    10. dboy
      Jaded

      dboy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2007 & 8/2013
      Sure, but having held jobs in mental health, including a short time in a psychiatric hospital, I can say that "lack of insight" is one way of ignoring what a patient, a sufferer, is telling you and imposing your own viewpoint. This can be an expression of power. You are the institution, you are in control, you can do what you consider to be right to somebody else. I got out of that job quick, because I objected strongly to the way that works.

      I can't say for sure what the right and wrong of this is, as I acknowledged above. We are speculating really, and I feel a little uncomfortable doing so too much. I just feel sad at the failures of understanding and communication that were obviously involved here.
       
    11. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Yes, I do too, and definitely don't want to detract from that. I guess I bristle a little bit at suicide threads because there has often been a sentiment expressed on here that it's a reasonable reaction to tinnitus, which I guess I just vehemently disagree with, speaking personally.

      But, cases like this represent a complete failure of social support structures and the "mental health industry", and it's tragic, and I feel terrible for the families involved here. One of my friends from high school and college killed himself in the early 2000s; it's awful for everyone involved.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    12. Richard zurowski

      Richard zurowski Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      27/12/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection.
      Yet another sad loss due to tinnitus. Please! Please find a cure!!!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    13. ItalianMan
      Fine

      ItalianMan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2012
      I think T is NEVER the EXCLUSIVE PROBLEM causes suicide, sometimes lack (or refuse) of a specifical cure such us antidepressant or anxiolytic does more harm than good.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. Jptsr1

      Jptsr1 Member

      Location:
      New Jersey
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, Guns, Q-Tips
      I agree. There seem to always be contributing factors that these stories either fail to highlight or intentionally omit. Very sad either way but I'd bet the T wasn't the only thing going on.
       
    15. diver
      Inspired

      diver Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/11/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving, Drinking, Vestibular Hit 12 years before onset
      Really Sad obviously T wasn't the only thing going on but it was the major contributor. This Forum has helped me immensely with my affair with T. I say this because it is always with me somedays fairly quiet others fairly annoying it's here to stay for now I live with it have had it for over 13 years last month went off the charts found this website 3 weeks ago thank god. 13 years a go developed T after a night of drinking after a day of diving no one to talk to very sad felt very alone went to my G.P. Told him about my T was in a fairly depressed state he looked me laughed said oh that { hahahah don't worry about that you'll get used to that I have it to I got mine after I perferrated my eardrum after diving, go talk to the other doctor here he has it really bad he got his from being in the service......Dang!!
       
    16. Dutchy
      Not worthy

      Dutchy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Neuronmodulation suggests noise induced?
      Very sad indeed,the decision to end your life seems so sudden .I think it was a combination
      of multiple issues.Although his profession could've been a real psychological struggle.
       
    17. John G

      John G Member

      I kind of hate it when people mention that someone has other issues, along with the their T. It would make them second guess themselves and think they are crazy.

      People have different tollerance levels.IMO

      Just going on a rant.
       
    18. Nucleo

      Nucleo Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2011
      I think we can clearly see the man had other issues than T. His thought processes were completely distorted.
       
    19. John G

      John G Member

      I understand what your saying. Maybe he was afraid that his T was already bothering him and maybe he became too obsessed to the possibility that his T would get worse by taking medications for anxiety etc that would may make T even worse. Even when I am reading on this forum,I do come across people saying certain medication/alternative medicine etc can spike or make your T worse. So, I can see somebody getting really stressed out (myself included) trying to find out what meds are good or bad.It's like researching the internet about any medical condition that is bothering you. You research and research too much and it can make you a little crazy.
       
    20. Asvalian
      Chatty

      Asvalian Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Barcelona (Spain)
      Tinnitus Since:
      25/10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown at the moment, prob hearing lost/stress.
      HA!, and people say T doesn't "kill" people, just because it doesn't stop us from breathing does not mean that it's not dangerous, or that it's not a serious problem, we need a cure, even if it's a reduction of T, and FAST.
       

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