GP’s ‘Tinnitus Aware’ Thanks to Charity Campaign
|Author: JennyPearce||Published: 13th March 2012 16:34|
The British Tinnitus Association (BTA), the only charity solely dedicated to supporting those with tinnitus, held its annual national Tinnitus Awareness Week from 6-13 February. The campaign has been heralded as a great success in it aim of achieving greater tinnitus awareness among GPs and primary care providers, as well as among the general public.
Sue Wyatt-Jones, Paul McDermott and Sarah Swift from University Hospitals Bristol
Ten per cent of the UK population experience tinnitus, defined as hearing a noise in the absence of an external sound. Tinnitus Awareness Week sought to address an issue that has long been considered an problem by the BTA and was confirmed by a recent study into the practice of care for tinnitus among General Practitioners in England. It identified that many GPs have an unmet need for specific GP training on tinnitus management.
As a result, the BTA believe that 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 tinnitus patients.
As part of the awareness week the charity produced a downloadable ‘Top Ten Tinnitus Tips for GPs', and members of the public were encouraged to use and share this with their local GPs to encourage improved awareness and understanding of tinnitus. More than 8,000 copies of the document were issued by the BTA to members of the public, with hundreds more downloaded from the website during Tinnitus Awareness Week.
Tinnitus Awareness Week was widely supported by local and regional tinnitus support groups, organisations and individuals, and the campaign also generated numerous requests for BTA information displays and events across the UK. Also, in line with a secondary aim of the campaign to encourage audiologists and hearing specialists to hold a meeting or attend an event for GPs to advise about tinnitus and the services available locally, several such events were held or organized for later in the year.
The awareness campaign generated hundreds of press articles across national, regional and local media. A tinnitus case study was interviewed on ITV's Daybreak programme on the first morning of Tinnitus Awareness Week, raising important awareness to kick-start the campaign. Radio interviews with BTA representatives and tinnitus case studies were also secured on numerous stations including BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Devon, BBC Radio Somerset, BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire.
The involvement of ambassador, DJ and radio presenter Eddy Temple Morris, once again ensured that the campaign reached thousands of people in the music and DJing community. He helped to secure the support of a number of high-profile DJs and musicians who experience tinnitus - including Danny MacNamara from Embrace, Rocky from X-Press 2 and Mike from Heavyfeet - and they submitted video diaries about their tinnitus experiences in order to help others and to provide advice. These were available to view on the BTA website and via Facebook and Twitter, and were downloaded 1,800 times during the week.
As a result of the success of the campaign, the BTA team experienced a 20% increase in the number of calls to its free phone helpline and 2,000 more daily visits than usual to its website (www.tinnitus.org.uk) throughout the week. The BTA were therefore able to help a record number of people with tinnitus information and advice during Tinnitus Awareness Week.
David Stockdale, CEO of the British Tinnitus Association, said: "This year's campaign was a great success and we were delighted with the response to our GP and Audiology-focussed activity. We are confident that many more GPs have greater knowledge of tinnitus and how it can be managed, and this will have immediate as well as long-term benefits for the thousands of people with tinnitus across the country."
Not an illness or disease, tinnitus is a term that describes the sensation of hearing a noise in the absence of an external sound. The noise can have virtually any quality. Ringing, whistling, and buzzing are common, but more complex sounds may also be reported. Troublesome tinnitus can be very distressing for the affected individual, and issues may arise with sleep, concentration and mood. However, in many cases, subtle changes in people's environment can address these issues, and improve quality of life.
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 free phone helpline on 0800 018 0527 and online at www.tinnitus.org.uk. The BTA can also post printed and audio information and advice.
Visit the BTA's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishTinnitusAssociation and follow the BTA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BritishTinnitus
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