This is pretty much how I feel about T right now. Still bothers me a little but does not run my life Tinnitus sufferers – don't let it drown out the positive voices Being diagnosed with tinnitus just before going to university was a blow to my confidence, but you can live a normal lif That first night celebrating my A-level results in Birmingham resulted in a deafening ringing in my ears. Photograph: amana images inc/Alamy Since I celebrated my A-level results, tinnitus has destroyed what once was silence. During the early start to the summer holidays, an evening in Birmingham was eagerly arranged. The succession of staying out late, clubbing, endless summer parties continued throughout the summer. My A-levels were a triumph, university beckoned along with more celebrations, clubbing and party invitations. What I now know is that first night celebrating in Birmingham resulted in a deafening ringing in my ears that I initially became so used to after nights of clubbing, that I just tried to carry on as normal with the constant noise in my head. Soon I started to suffer from sharp pains through my ears and a ringing that really was non-stop, and it became impossible just to remain calm. After three successive sleepless nights I began to worry about the damage I may have caused to myself and Googled the symptoms, hoping that somebody else had suffered from the same and turned out fine. Although I read some positive articles, most of it was daunting and downright depressing. A week went by and I decided it was definitely time to see the doctor. He ran a few tests with a tuning fork and told me I'd be fine and that my hearing hadn't been damaged. The tinnitus didn't subside so I went to see another doctor, and she said the same thing. After around four doctors telling me: "It's a mental battle," I was left feeling helpless. It was quite clear that I had developed tinnitus. I became increasingly restless, I was becoming depressed and the constant thought of being deaf in my 20s was really getting me down. I had always acted and studied drama at a young age and the thought of missing my cue and having tinnitus hold me back severely knocked my confidence. Like the estimated 6 million people who suffer from tinnitus in the UK, I was crushed and only saw the negatives; how I wouldn't look cool with earplugs, always having to ask people to turn their music down and most importantly never getting a good night's sleep again. This served as a double blow considering I was about to meet new friends and enter a new lifestyle at university. Tinnitus is a drag when everyone else at university is able to enjoy their nightlife without thinking about repercussions. Having to wear earplugs in clubs and dodge fantastic events like bonfire nights in Brighton and East Sussex wasn't how I'd imagined student life. For me, silence had literally become deafening. Now having lived with tinnitus for more than a year, I can now say that it rarely bothers me. I have to remember after pre-drinks to take my earplugs with me on a night out, but apart from that, tinnitus isn't getting me down any longer and I won't let it. I believe remaining positive, keeping busy and seeing tinnitus as less of a defect and more as a slight irritant has helped me tremendously. I manage to sleep soundly at night, I have nights out clubbing with my friends, I can still enjoy music and as far as I know my hearing is still as good as before. My advice for fellow sufferers is to see it as an issue that can be tackled with the right frame of mind. Rather than trying to eradicate it completely, understand it's there, accept that it isn't going away and find ways of living with it. Accepting tinnitus has made it a small part of my life, and if I stick to my sound boundaries, the ringing in my ears gets less and less deafening every day.