Bath therapists help develop support tool to minimise impact of Tinnitus

Virgin Care’s hearing therapy team in Bath and North East Somerset have been a crucial part of creating a new support tool for people with Tinnitus which is helping make thousands of lives better.

Tinnitus occurs when people start to hear noises within the head that previously were inaudible. It is a very commonly experienced condition with 1 in 10 people affected.  Experts from Aston University, the British Tinnitus Association, and Bath’s local hearing therapy team have developed support and techniques which can minimise the impact the condition has on peoples’ lives.

Many people can suffer with tinnitus for years without realising there are services available to them. However, even when they are referred there are a number of different approaches, and as it can be an overwhelming condition, it can be hard to know which approach might work best for you.

The new decision aid tool, which is now being used across the county, is designed to help people identify the right treatment for them. People vary in their preferences, with some people benefitting from using sound-based treatments and others preferring a talking therapy approach.

Clinicians and patients work together using the tool to choose the right treatment option for each individual. The tool is also sent out to patients before their appointment and can be used without input from an expert.

As part of the launch for the tool, practitioners from Bath and North East Somerset filmed a video, being used nationally, to guide clinicians through the best ways of using the new tool.

Throughout Tinnitus Week – which takes place from 5-11 February – Virgin Care is working with the British Tinnitus Association to raise awareness of the condition, the tool and the high quality, free NHS support available in Bath and North East Somerset for sufferers.

The hearing therapy team are celebrating the week by promoting the support tool and their service locally with awareness events running at Bath University, County Hall in Trowbridge, Wessex Water and at the Royal United Hospital.

Melanie Ward, Head of Hearing Therapy and Audiology for Virgin Care’s Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care services, said: “It’s important for us to help as many people as we can, these events throughout the week will go some way to do just that as we’re able to raise awareness, share new tools and techniques as well as inform local people about the service we run and the help they can receive from our hearing therapists.”

Dr Helen Pryce Senior Lecturer Audiology, Life and Health Sciences at Aston University, said: “We are thankful for all the help the team provided to put the decision aid together. There is a myth that nothing can be done but by having created the decision aid tool, which is now being used in the national curriculum, it can be a tangible way of showing what can be done and the decisions that can be made for different people with different values and preferences.”

David Stockdale, chief executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said: “We know that tinnitus is a condition that affects people of all ages so it is important that everyone feels they can engage and contribute to the conversations being had during the week about how tinnitus impacts on them.”

  • Events will take place on:
    • Tuesday 6 February at Bath University, where the team will be situated in the staff and postgraduate café talking to staff and students between 10am and 2.30pm.
    • Wednesday 7 February at County Hall, Trowbridge to meet and speak to members of the public in the foyer between 12pm and 2pm.
    • Thursday 8 February at Wessex Water, Bath to meet employees of the company between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
    • Friday 9 February at Royal United Hospital Bath the team will be based in the hospital’s atrium
  • The tool is the brainchild of Dr Helen Pryce from Aston University, the British Tinnitus Association and a group of researchers – including Virgin Care.

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