How Tinnitus Changed My Life

TommyBy Tommy Scott

For me, tinnitus has been one big roller coaster. A roller coaster that I didn’t agree to ride on and certainly did not expect to find myself on at the age of 23. At the time of my diagnosis, I was a senior in college and was on top of the world. Given that I had been a commercial DJ for several years, my time spent around speakers is most likely the cause of my tinnitus. Doctors were confused about my condition because no obvious signs of hearing loss were detected and there was no other logical cause for the sounds that I was hearing in my head.

When I heard that there was no cure for my condition, my carefully planned life came to a screeching halt. I was planning to begin medical school after graduation and I was fully convinced that I had my entire life figured out. This new medical condition affected my ability to concentrate, which caused my thoughts to be consumed with doubts.  Luckily for me, my parents were extremely supportive and talked through all of my options for both treatment and career choices.

Through many twists and turns, I moved to Washington, DC, to pursue healthcare consulting and complete the tinnitus retraining therapy program at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

This coming fall, I’m enrolling at Northeast Ohio University in the medical school class of 2023.  Due to my battle with tinnitus, I now have a passion for helping others avoid needless hearing loss. Every day Americans use personal listening devices at alarming volumes.  Through my medical training, I hope to be able to provide guidance to young musicians and others who are listening constantly to music without hearing protection or understanding of the cumulative effect of damaging sounds.

Tinnitus has changed my life in many ways—I am never found without earplugs when I am out and about—but most of all my tinnitus has given me a new sense of purpose and determination.

Tommy Scott is an incoming medical student at Northeast Ohio University.  He is a graduate from the University of Alabama and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Tommy was a commercial DJ for several years and has a passion for music (and now hearing protection).  His professional experience includes pediatric cancer research, biopharmaceutical business development and advocacy, and healthcare consulting.  He is considering a career as an ear, nose and throat doctor to help others affected with hearing conditions. Tommy enjoys hiking, traveling, and cooking in his free time.