The MPs – Sir John Hayes (Conservative), Lilian Greenwood (Labour) and Tommy Sheppard (SNP) – agreed to work together following the BTA’s recent Tinnitus Roundtable event at the House of Commons in January, where they met with leading academics, research-funders, clinicians and people with tinnitus to agree the way forward for curing the condition.
Studies show that tinnitus research receives a staggering 40 times less funding than conditions like depression, anxiety and hearing loss, although the impact on the individual is comparable – and one researcher at the roundtable reported that they received just £30,000 over four years for their tinnitus study.
BSHAA president Andrew Coulter backed the call for more funding research. He said: “More funding is needed desperately for tinnitus research. The latest survey from BTA – Time to Listen – shows the impact of tinnnitus on mental health and well-being and demonstrates starkly why more funding is required. Thank you to the BTA for their work in pressing government to address this.”
The Time to Listen survey of 1,620 people with tinnitus revealed that many with the condition experience low mood and sadness (57%) and avoid contact with friends, taking part in fewer social activities (42%). A third say that their condition is often trivialised by their partner, family, friends, work colleagues and health professionals, and more than eight out of 10 are dissatisfied with the current treatment options.
One in four (28%), say that a cure for tinnitus would “completely change” their life and 98% say it would make their life better.
Marking the launch of Tinnitus Week 2020 (3rd to 9th February), the BTA has produced ‘The Tinnitus Manifesto’, which calls for:
- 1% of the health service cost of treating tinnitus to be spent on research to find cures – a total of £7.5m per year to be dedicated to research
- An improved academic infrastructure to be put in place to enable better quality research and a higher volume of studies, building on the work of the committed research community
- A focus on studies that will help establish the key foundational knowledge for tinnitus research, and enable the community to move forward to find cures