Captain Kirk Comes Down to Earth: William Shatner’s Struggles with Tinnitus
It might be hard to believe that Star Trek’s Captain Kirk actually has human failings. In reality, the actor who played the death-defying space explorer is a lot like us: William Shatner suffers from tinnitus. This all-too human condition not only drove Shatner to distraction, it drove him to contemplate suicide.
Despite his fame and fortune, the Canadian actor was so disabled by tinnitus he consulted an audiologist in a last ditch effort before doing the unthinkable. He told Globe magazine, “It was like listening to the hiss of a TV that’s not been tuned to a channel. I thought I’d go deaf or nuts. I thought of killing myself.”
Using tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), Shatner was able to return to an active lifestyle. TRT uses a noise-generating device much like a hearing aid. It is worn eight to ten hours a day for up to two years to retrain the brain. Coupling this device with counselling can help with the debilitating effects of tinnitus. It worked for Shatner. He states, “Now the condition doesn’t affect me.”
Even though TRT does not cure tinnitus, it can successfully teach the brain to ignore the constant roar. However, it doesn’t work for everybody. It takes dedication and hard work. Consult your audiologist about TRT to discover if this treatment can help you.