BRIT Award-winning singer and songwriter KT Tunstall has revealed that she is one of the ten per cent of people in the UK who suffers from tinnitus.

The 35-year-old said she believed playing to crowds in front of noisy sound systems may have been a factor in bringing on the condition, which causes a ringing or buzzing noise in the ears.

She said: “It started after I’d gone to a Spice Girls concert and got great seats, but unfortunately they were also pretty close to the huge speakers.

“After that evening I had this incessant high-pitched whine in my left ear.

“I didn’t know what it was and at first just hoped it would go away, but it didn’t and it started to drive me mad.”

Tunstall said the tinnitus began to affect her in the early years of her career and said she struggled on stage.

“It really affected my hearing certain tones,” she said. “It can affect the top frequency of that ear’s hearing when it’s very loud.”

According to the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), the condition can affect one or either ears or the noise can even appear to be coming from the middle of the head.

The precise cause is not known but, as in the case of KT Tunstall, it has been linked to exposure to loud noise.

Although there is no cure, the BTA’s website offers help, support and tips and on how to minimise the disruption to your day-to-day life and sleep.

Tunstall said she is now used to the constant high tone in her ear but admits she sometimes worries that the condition could worsen.

She said: “That’s possible as tinnitus can be unpredictable. But there’s very little that can be done about it so I just have to be very careful.

“I think it’s quite related to exhaustion so now I look after myself much better physically and ensure that I get breaks and that’s made a huge difference. It’s all about not panicking and accommodating the condition.”

For more information on the tinnitus, visit