22 June 2011

Healthcare professionals know too little about tinnitus

It may be difficult to get help from healthcare professionals if you suffer from tinnitus, a survey from Northern Ireland shows.

A report from Northern Ireland, prepared by the British organisation for the hearing impaired, Action on Hearing Loss, has revealed that healthcare professionals do not feel adequately trained or equipped to cope with people with tinnitus who approach them for help.

Action on Hearing Loss surveyed ear, nose and throat consultants, audiologists, social workers and GPs to find out about the range of services available in Northern Ireland. They found that seven out of ten responding audiologists said that they do not have sufficient resources to provide an effective tinnitus service.

GPs may lack knowledge
Half of the 174 responding GPs see between one and three patients with tinnitus every month, but their knowledge of the condition is “average” or “below average”.

Responses from five health trusts showed, that while no social care staff are currently trained in psychological approaches to support people with tinnitus, they do facilitate peer-support in some areas.

Nearly 360,000 people are estimated to have tinnitus in Northern Ireland, and 9,000 people are estimated to have experienced severe disruption to their lives because of tinnitus.

Source: One in Seven, issue 81, 2011

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