Support groups allow people living with tinnitus to come together and develop support networks. Here they can not only exchange their stories and share their anxieties and worries, but also talk about their own coping strategies and ways in which they learn to live well with their tinnitus. A problem shared is a problem halved, so they say, and meeting up with people who understand the problem is vital.
Signal has joined forces with The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s Audiology department to launch the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group, meeting in Shrewsbury and in Telford. We also offer regular drop in support and information sessions in both locations.
For dates and times please see our Hub webpage
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition where sounds are heard inside a person’s head where no external source is present. These sounds can take on many different forms: some people experience a ringing, others a whistling a rushing or a banging sound. Some even report hearing music playing.
One in ten people experiences tinnitus of some kind. For many people it is mild and may even not be noticeable except in quiet environments. However, for about 5% of the population tinnitus can be extremely distracting and make it difficult to lead a normal life, to work and to enjoy the company of others.
Hyperacusis is a rarer condition, but often associated with tinnitus. With hyperacusis, sounds become amplified dramatically – something as simple as the sound of a teaspoon being dropped into a cup can be extremely painful and distressing to someone with the condition.
What can be done?
Although there is no known cure, there are a number of ways of managing the conditions. The sound of tinnitus can be masked by white noise machines, CDs playing music, or simply the radio. Other methods focus on changing the emotional reaction to the noise that is heard, and relaxation therapy, cognitive type therapy and mindfulness medicine have been shown to help.
Learning about tinnitus and understanding what is happening can also reduce the stress and anxiety that can make the condition worse. Of course, support groups also play a big role in helping people cope.
Where can I get help with tinnitus?
Please join us at one of our support groups or pop in to see us at our information and support drop-in’s
It is always advisable to speak to your doctor if you feel that you may have tinnitus. The doctor can refer you to specialist services. In Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin the Audiology department has some excellent hearing therapists who can advise and support you. They also have some demonstration equipment that they can let you try out to see if it can help. This is another Signal project, which you can read more about here. The British Tinnitus Association has some great information which you can access on its website.
Of course, for the human touch you can come to the support group meetings – all welcome!