Guitarist Robert McIndoe, 52, acquired a severe form of the hearing problem after attending a Them Crooked Vultures concert in July 2010. He usually wore earplugs to loud shows but he’d forgotten them.
He suffered acute ringing in his ears for three months, which affected his sleeping patterns and his work as a management consultant.
After three visits to his doctor, McIndoe reached the conclusion he wasn’t going to receive treatment for his condition, and stabbed himself to death.A letter of referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist arrived by mail the next morning.
McIndoe’s wife Shirley told an inquest into his death: “He was cross with himself for not taking earplugs to the concert. “When it first happened he wasn’t too bothered about it because he thought it would subside. The friend he’d been with also had ringing in his ears. But it was a constant irritation. He didn’t get a night of sleep fate that.”
She says McIndoe was devastated after seeing his doctor on October 19. “He came away from that appointment really, really distressed. He felt the doctor didn’t believe him and was treating him like a malingerer.”
The following day he took an overdose of sleeping pills and left a suicide note saying he couldn’t bear the thought he was “no good” to his family. He survived the suicide attempt – but on October 31 he stabbed himself to death. He’d told psychiatrists he’d “rather be deaf or dead.”
McIndoe had tried alternative therapies and even considered having his auditory nerve cut to render him completely deaf. His wife says: “It was awful. He looked terrible, and he just felt so band all the time. He was desperate that it was never going to change.”
McIndoe’s family have set up a Just Giving page in aid of the British Tinnitus Association, saying: “Robert was unable to access help that relieved the terrible suffering he experienced as a result of tinnitus. The condition is widespread but poorly understood.”