Tinnitus Awareness Week

From the 2nd to 6th February 2015, The British Tinnitus Association will be holding their second annual tinnitus awareness week to raise awareness to both sufferers and non-sufferers of the effects tinnitus has on daily living. During the campaign The British Tinnitus Association will be travelling across the country to provide information and advice to the general public at different hearing centres.

(For a list of these, visit http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/events-across-the-uk).

Action on Hearing Loss is also behind the campaign and on their website they have asked for people to come forward and share their stories. Ahead of Hearing Awareness Week, Action on Hearing Loss wanted to find out more about the services available to tinnitus sufferers and surveyed 140 audiologists from around the UK who were asked what services they offered for tinnitus sufferers.  Only 41% of that group were able to offer all of the following services: specialist tinnitus support, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help people deal with the effects of tinnitus and tinnitus retraining therapy. This shows that there is a lack of help out there for people who develop tinnitus.

Tinnitus is most commonly known to be brought on by damage that occurs in the inner ear but there are many other causes of tinnitus. The damaged cochlea, part of the ear, prevents signals being transmitted effectively through to the brain. This distortion causes the sound of tinnitus.

People who suffer with tinnitus will have this at varying degrees of intensity. Some people who develop tinnitus will find that it is most noticeable at night and have it occasionally throughout the day. However, in some instances the tinnitus will be constant and this is where tinnitus for sufferers is difficult to come to terms with and has been known to cause depression and social anxiety. There are treatment options available to alleviate symptoms but tinnitus cannot be cured.

Many people who have noise induced hearing loss are known to notice both tinnitus and hearing loss at generally the same time. This is because the noise damage has impaired the inner ear affecting the inner ear cells which in turn causes tinnitus to develop.  A person who develops tinnitus cannot, by law, claim for tinnitus alone. However, someone who develops tinnitus may not be aware that they have hearing loss because the degree of tinnitus they suffer with is masking them being aware of hearing loss. Therefore, this is not something which is known until a person has a hearing test and this is why it is important to raise awareness of tinnitus and encourage people to undergo hearing tests.

If that hearing test shows a degree of hearing loss which indicates noise induced hearing loss then that person may be entitled to seek compensation arising from their exposure to noise through work.

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