Tinnitus under the spotlight at Royal Surrey

Health professionals and patients were given the opportunity to learn more about the latest developments in treating Tinnitus in a seminar at Royal Surrey to mark National Tinnitus Week.

More than 180 people attended the ‘Tinnitus and Hearing Impairment Seminar’ which showcased new research from Royal Surrey specialists who treat the painful and distressing hearing condition. 

Up to 15% of the UK population is believed to suffer from persistent tinnitus which is commonly described as a persistent ‘ringing’ in the ears.

In the first session of the seminar, Royal Surrey Tinnitus team lead Dr Hashir Aazh (pictured) explored the relationship between the severity of hearing loss and the loudness of tinnitus.

Drawing from new research from over 400 patient studies he outlined a number of key findings:

  • Tinnitus will generally get louder as hearing loss worsens but not by a large factor
  • Using hearing protection to try and mitigate further hearing loss and related  ‘safety- seeking’ behaviours are likely to contribute to tinnitus related anxiety
  • ‘Safety-seeking’ behaviours that restrict a patient’s life experience are likely to make the patient feel that the tinnitus ‘sound’ gets louder
  • There are a wide range of rehabilitative approaches that can minimise the annoyance that tinnitus causes and its impact on the patient’s life.

In the second part of the seminar, consultant audiovestibular physician, Dr R Srinivasa Raghavan looked at medical evaluation and treatments for tinnitus combined with hearing loss. A question and answer session which addressed patient experience was led by Jemma Hatton, a specialist in Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Rehabilitation.

“Tinnitus currently affects about 10-15% of the UK population and up to 30% of the population may experience it at some time in their lives,” said Hashir. “It can be an extremely debilitating condition but there is not enough public understanding of its causes or the treatments that are available.

“Many people with tinnitus are worried that if their hearing worsens for any reason it may lead to an increase in the loudness of their tinnitus to a level that they would not be able to cope with.  The seminar was a great opportunity to reassure patients and inform audiology professionals of the latest developments in tinnitus therapy.”

The Royal Surrey County Hospital is a leading general hospital and specialist centre for cancer services and treatment, based in Guildford. It serves a population of 330,000 people for emergency and general hospital services across south west Surrey. St Luke’s Cancer Centre serves 1.2 million people, offering state of the art diagnostic and treatment services.

 

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