Tinnitus Awareness Week 2014 runs from 3-9 February and aims to bring the condition of noises heard in the head and/or ears to the attention of thousands across the UK.
Affecting at least one in 10 of the UK population, a massive 6.3 million, tinnitus is the unseen condition which can cause distress to individuals of any age. Tinnitus can be mild to severe and can affect sleep and concentration. It can also lead to anxiety and depression and at this time there is currently no cure.
Tinnitus is a condition which is heard but not seen - but the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) wants to hear from people with the condition, to offer the help and support which is so vital in the early stages. The charity, based in Sheffield, works to support anyone with the condition and during Tinnitus Awareness Week the BTA will be raising awareness by encouraging people to talk about tinnitus and highlight the help that is available.
In the 'BTA Survey 2013'*, feedback from members of the public about help they'd received for the condition highlighted that 77% of those completing the survey consulted their GP about tinnitus, but only 13% were told about the BTA on doing so.
During Tinnitus Awareness Week, the BTA will again be encouraging GPs, to refer onto secondary care where appropriate and to inform people of the BTA's freephone helpline 0800 018 0527 and the BTA website.
One respondent to the BTA survey said: "I was given invaluable support in the early panic-stricken stages of the condition. The helpline was practically a lifesaver". And another said "The BTA has completely changed my views of tinnitus and talking to them has changed my life. I no longer live in fear that my tinnitus will ruin my life". The sooner someone can talk about their tinnitus and be heard, the sooner they can come to terms with it and start moving forward.
Hospitals across the UK will be getting involved during Tinnitus Awareness Week by displaying information, local tinnitus support groups will be holding meetings and events will be held across the UK to highlight the support that is available.
* Copies of the BTA's Survey 2013 are available from the BTA upon request.