Martin McGuinness tells of misery living with tinnitus
Martin McGuinness has revealed that he has suffered a serious hearing problem for a decade - but it hasn't held him back.
Speaking at the start of Tinnitus Awareness Week, the Deputy First Minister said he hears a constant ringing in his ears.
Tinnitus affects around one in 10 people in Northern Ireland, as well as musicians such as Will I Am and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Although some can manage their tinnitus while sustaining a demanding professional life, many others suffer in silence and are plagued by what can be a very isolating and distressing mental health condition.
"I have had tinnitus for roughly the last 10 years. I don't know what caused my tinnitus but I started to become aware of a very low ringing noise in my right ear, which is now constantly there," said Mr McGuinness.
"As anyone who has tinnitus knows, it's not something that you can ignore and you have to deal with it on a daily basis."
Despite the condition, the Sinn Fein MLA said it had limited impact on day-to-day life and work and that family, friends and work colleagues were very supportive.
"I carry out my full duties as Deputy First Minister and accept I have tinnitus, but appreciate the hearing that I do have and that it does not limit me in a professional or personal capacity."
Tinnitus Awareness Week runs from today until February 14, when Action on Hearing Loss will have a number of outreach events as part of an information service.