Tinnitus Awareness Week 2014
31/01/2014It is estimated that around one in ten of the population experience tinnitus every day and approximately half of people with tinnitus find it moderately or severely distressing.
Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or the ears which has no external source. It is not a disease or illness but is a symptom generated within the ear. The sounds are often ringing, whistling or buzzing. People with the condition have described a wide range of sounds that are often continuous but may come and go. Tinnitus can occur at any age and it is more common in people who have a hearing loss.
To mark Tinnitus Awareness Week, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust is hosting information stands at The Mall, Armagh on Thursday 6 February from 11am to 2pm and on Friday 7 February between 11am and 2pm in
- Oaks Centre, Dungannon
- Buttercrane Shopping Centre, Newry
- Rushmere Centre, Craigavon
Pat McAteer, Specialist Disability Services Manager at the Trust, says that the causes of tinnitus are still not fully understood but tinnitus is associated with stress, anxiety and ear infections.
“In addition to tinnitus related to stress-related and ear infections, the condition can be a trigger to hearing loss or may result from exposure to loud noise. Research is ongoing to find a cure for condition but there are many self-help techniques that can be useful. Our experience shows that the condition does get better. Noises disappear or diminish to a tolerable level for the majority of people as the brain loses interest and stops surveying the signal. The length of time this takes varies from person to person but the good news is that it does happen.”
At Cherrytrees Resource Centre in Portadown, the Trust’s Sensory Disability Team facilitates a monthly support group, and one-to-one sessions are available to help people manage their tinnitus.
Martin McAlinden from Lurgan has had tinnitus since 1972 following a fall and attends the support group.
“Joyce McDonagh from the Centre came to see me and it was obvious that she knew a lot about my disability, because that’s how I think of it. This was the first time I had spoken to someone about tinnitus who knew quite a lot about it and could understand what I was living with. She was able to explain things about tinnitus and it was just fantastic. Joyce brought equipment and I was able to hear a voice for the first time in years.”
Martin has since learnt lip reading says it was the best thing he’s done for his hearing loss and tinnitus.
“I really enjoy the lip-reading classes and another class on practical support and I am glad that Joyce took the time to persuade me to go,” adds Martin. “She assured me that it would be beneficial to me and she was absolutely right. I enjoy the time I spend with the groups and it’s good to know there is help out there and people who genuinely care.”
Anyone living in the Craigavon, Banbridge or South Down area can contact Cherrytrees Resource Centre email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 028 3839 4088. If you live in Armagh, Dungannon or South Armagh area contact the team at Jackson Hall in Armagh, email: email@example.com or telephone 028 3741 2364. Further information on the condition is available from the British Tinnitus Association at www.tinnitus.org.uk and their helpline: 0800 018 0527.
Martin McAlinden who attends the Tinnitus Support Group in Portadown