National Charity Focuses Tinnitus Awareness Week 2012 on GPs

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The British Tinnitus Association (BTA), the only charity solely dedicated to supporting those with tinnitus, is counting down to Tinnitus Awareness Week which will take place next year from Monday 6 February until Sunday 12 February 2012. The 2012 campaign will aim to encourage better tinnitus awareness among primary care practitioners and GPs, as well as among the general public.

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA), the only charity solely dedicated to supporting those with tinnitus, is counting down to Tinnitus Awareness Week which will take place next year from Monday 6 February until Sunday 12 February 2012. The 2012 campaign will aim to encourage better tinnitus awareness among primary care practitioners and GPs, as well as among the general public.

Tinnitus is a term that describes the sensation of hearing a noise in the absence of an external sound and it is experienced by approximately 10% of the population in the UK.

The BTA will be striving to ensure that primary care practitioners are able to gain an improved understanding about tinnitus and of the services available in secondary care. As part of Tinnitus Awareness Week the charity has produced ‘Top Ten Tinnitus Tips for GPs’, which is available to download from http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/TAW2012. Members of the public are being encouraged to use and share this with their local GPs to encourage improved awareness and understanding of tinnitus.

A recent study into the practice of care for tinnitus among General Practitioners in England identified that many GPs have an unmet need for specific GP training on tinnitus management. The BTA believes this situation is leading to inconsistent and inadequate advice being given to tinnitus patients throughout the country, and is resulting in widespread dissatisfaction and unnecessary distress among many of the 10% of the population who experience tinnitus.

David Stockdale, CEO of the British Tinnitus Association, said: “Thousands of tinnitus patients are being short-changed by their GPs. They are being either completely dismissed, told to ‘learn to live with’ the condition and are being given inaccurate information, or are not being referred to tinnitus clinics for specialist care. Tinnitus is poorly-understood among many primary care practitioners, and we aim to readdress this problem during our Tinnitus Awareness Week campaign so that more tinnitus patients are given accurate advice and are referred to authoritative information widely available via the BTA, the NHS and other sources.”

The charity is also working closely with tinnitus and ENT experts, and is encouraging representatives from Audiology Departments to host meetings/seminars for GPs which would then allow audiology professionals to inform GPs about the services available at their hospital. They are also being encouraged to attend GPs meetings to promote their hospital’s tinnitus service.

While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, those who experience it can be assisted by the BTA in the form of free support and advice. The BTA helps thousands of people each year via its freephone helpline (0800 018 0527), and through the provision of information which includes updates on the latest clinical research into the causes and treatment of tinnitus and behavioural techniques which can help to alleviate the condition.

The BTA is an independent charity which supports thousands of people who experience tinnitus and advises medical professionals from across the world.

The British Tinnitus Association strives to be the primary source of support and information for people with tinnitus in the UK, thereby facilitating an improved quality of life. It aims to encourage prevention through its educational programme and to seek a cure for permanent head noise through a medical research programme.

The experienced team at the BTA understands the impact that tinnitus can have on the lives of those who experience tinnitus and those who live with them, so seeks to provides the most appropriate and expert advice and information free of charge – via a confidential freephone helpline on 0800 018 0527 and online at http://www.tinnitus.org.uk. The BTA can also post printed and audio information and advice.

Visit the BTA’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BritishTinnitusAssociation and follow the BTA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/BritishTinnitus

Study information - Suliman K. El-Shunnar MRCS, Derek J. Hoare PhD, Sandra Smith BSc, Phillip E. Gander PhD, Sujin Kang MA, Kathryn Fackrell and Deborah A. Hall PhD), ‘Primary care for tinnitus: practice and opinion among GPs in England’ Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, May 2011

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