Manchester tinnitus tragedy: five years on

Five years ago last month, Manchester musician Craig Gill’s took his own life due to tinnitus and more needs to be done to raise awareness of the condition.

Gill was the drummer for the Manchester band ‘Inspiral Carpets’ where he joined the band in 1986 at the age of 14.

Gill played in the band until they split up in 1995 and later from 2003 to 2016, when the band reformed.

During that time, Inspiral Carpets shaped the ‘Madchester’ scene in Manchester in the late 1980s, along with the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.

Gill suffered from tinnitus, a condition where patients hear sounds in the absence of any external sound.

This has often been described as a ringing in the ear; however other symptoms can be whizzing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, or another type of continuous noise.

Gill developed tinnitus after playing the drums for Inspiral Carpets without any ear protection.

The drummer suffered for 20 years with the condition which led to him having sleep deprivation and anxiety.

In November 2016, Gill took his life at the age of 44 due to his debilitating and unbearable tinnitus.

Tinnitus is very common in the UK, where 30% of people have experienced it, with only 10% finding it to have a significant impact on their quality of life.

This can affect sleep patterns, concentration and overall quality of life, with symptoms usually fading within hours or days, but can continue for months and in some cases years.

However, there needs to be more awareness around the condition and the treatment available to reduce the external noise considering that there is no cure for tinnitus.

Mancunian Matters spoke to the audiologist at Didsbury-based Spire Manchester, Adam Walker.

When speaking about Gill, Walker said: “Any loss of life is tragic and my thoughts are with his family and friends on the anniversary of his death.”

“Inevitably something so tragic and high profile will lead to an increased awareness of tinnitus.”

“To some extent I think a lot of people know about tinnitus but what’s also important is that we do as much as we can to raise awareness of the help and support which is available to prevent others from getting to that stage.”

“The aim is to help people and prevent any more tragic events from happening.”

Walker said: “What myself and Professor Iain Bruce provide at Spire is a ‘One Stop Shop’ ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) and Audiology clinic. People are able to get an ENT opinion, a hearing test and if they have tinnitus then we can give them appropriate advice, all in one session.”

This is done to make the process as organised and as efficient as possible to eliminate a painfully long and drawn out process for tinnitus patients.

“Tinnitus has a significant emotional element. So inevitably the two are very much linked, when we are more on edge, or stressed, that is when the tinnitus appears to become more intrusive.”

“It’s also extremely important to make sure that both the tinnitus and any depressive thoughts are appropriately managed by a combination of Audiology, ENT and a GP.”

“Managing your stress and managing your anxiety is a big part of tinnitus therapy.”

“ It’s also possible for children to experience tinnitus, but they don’t necessarily vocalise it because it’s just something they’ve always heard and assume to be ‘normal’.”

“I think that it is important to note that it is extremely rare that we can do something that takes away someone’s tinnitus completely. However, providing people with support mechanisms or management options in the initial stages, can hopefully reduce the amount that tinnitus impacts their lives.”

If you wish to book a consultation, you can call Spire Manchester on 0161 447 667.

Or for anymore information visit their website at

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