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William Shatner speaks about his tinnitus

Actor William Shatner speaks about his tinnitus and the work that The American Tinnitus Association is doing to reverse the condition for 50 million Americans.

The video from the The American Tinnitus Association(external link, opens new window) was uploaded to YouTube(external link, opens new window) in 2008.

You can also download the transcript of the William Shatner video(PDF 175kb, opens new window).

You can download a free PDF viewer(external link, opens new window) from the Adobe website.

William Shatner

Regardless of the characters I portrayed on TV and on the big screen, my tinnitus once buried me in a negative place where many of you are now, or have been, and believe me when I say to you, I’ve been there.

Tinn-itus or Tinni-tus (Shatner demonstrates two pronunciations of the word), either way you say it, whether you hear it in your ears or in your head, it means the same thing. Noise that does not go away and you do not suffer alone. The harsh reality of tinnitus is that it has robbed silence from the lives of nearly 12 million Americans.

My tinnitus began while I was filming a Star Trek episode [called] ‘Arena’. I was standing too close to a special effects explosion and it resulted in Tinnitus. There were days when I didn’t know if I would survive the agony [because] I was so tormented by the screeching in my head. I really felt I really wouldn’t be able to go on, but then a ray of light burst into my life - The American Tinnitus Association (ATA).

The help they gave me literally saved my life. Recently, ATA’s chief executive officer, David Fogarty, visited me in Los Angeles and updated me about the work ATA is doing, day in and day out, to bring us all closer to a cure for Tinnitus. They work with the best and the brightest scientists around the world, who are investigating this terrible condition.

What’s unique about ATA, is that they give us all the opportunity to do something about Tinnitus. They make it possible for anyone to contribute and support research that is moving us toward a cure.

David also informed me of a startling statistic. A study by the Centres for Disease Control found that nearly 13% of all children between the ages of 6 and 19 have damage caused by loud noise. Hundreds of thousands of these children may likely have tinnitus from these injuries.

Tinnitus is the number one service connected disability of the brave men and women coming back from the global war on terror. Those who return from these conflicts with tinnitus will have to endure incessant noise in their heads or ears, perhaps for years, if we do not intervene and help find a cure.

I believe we can achieve this goal and I encourage you to join me in making a generous contribution to the American Tinnitus Association. Its dedicated staff and volunteers are here for us today helping us live with our tinnitus and supporting innovative research. Eventually, they will bring the good news of silence back into our lives. We musty band together on this journey to help fund our critically needed association so that one day not one single person will ever have to bear the agony and distress of tinnitus.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your help.