Tinnitus is a much talked about topic at the moment in professional circles and in the media in general. Statistics regarding prevalence of tinnitus vary; however, 15-20% prevalence in the adult population is considered to be standard. The definition and severity of the tinnitus also varies from one survey to another. Møller (2011) states, “It is evident that while hearing loss increases monotonically with age, the prevalence of bothersome tinnitus levels off and even decreases after the age of 70 years, thus, in agreement with other studies reported above. That bothersome tinnitus reaches a level of about 14% in the 65- to 74-year age group should be noted”. The consequences of bothersome tinnitus are well documented and must not be ignored.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 11th Tinnitus TINNET conference which was held in Regensburg, Germany. Supported by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology which encourages cooperation among researchers, engineers, and scholars across Europe, it’s a unique and very interesting gathering of people and ideas.
Over the 11 annual conferences, participation has increased from 30 people to over 300. This year, researchers attended from 37 different countries making this conference one of the leaders in the sharing of tinnitus knowledge.
Copyright © 2018 - TRI / TINNET Conference 2018, Printed with permission. Photo credit Mario Schmitt photography
There is a lot of research being conducted into classifying tinnitus types into groups and determining which treatment options are most effective for each group. At the time of the conference, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was still considered to be the most effective treatment option and the one which is most recommended by the TINNET group. Many groups are looking into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in conjunction with other methods to relieve tinnitus symptoms and improve quality of life. Some of these methods are invasive procedures such as the Vagus Nerve Stimulation paired with tone therapy. This method has been used successfully to treat epilepsy and depression and has been trialed on 30 tinnitus patients with good results.
Other organizations such as The British Society of Audiology Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Special Interest Group (SIG) are currently developing a recommended procedure for fitting combination aids for tinnitus in adults with the view to support parity of clinical practice. This document will be based on clinical expertise and clinical consensus amongst a panel of experts comprising UK hearing professionals.
There is still a considerable amount of work to be done to understand the causes of tinnitus and the brain’s reaction to it. As this research progresses, we are getting closer and closer to finding successful treatment opportunities for this group of patients.
For further information, you can now watch videos produced during the conference on a new YouTube Channel “Tinnitus Science” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDpd5dU2qI7-sDfIhkEFJgA/videos or check out the conference website at http://2018.tri-conf.org/index.php. For more about the Tinnitus SoundSupport feature in our Bernafon Zerena hearing aids, visit our website product page
Møller, A. (2011). Epidemiology of Tinnitus in Adults. In Møller, A.R., Langguth, B., DeRidder, D., Kleinjung, T. (Eds.) Textbook of Tinnitus (pp. 29-37). New York: Springer-Verlag. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-60761-145-5_5.