Fiona, voluntary coordinator of the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group, gives a flavour of the group’s latest meeting, flags up the next events in the calendar and shares some thoughts…
The autumn meeting of the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group at The Lantern in Shrewsbury was well attended and lively, with people travelling from throughout the county and beyond. This is the fourth time the group has come together and it was lovely to see people chatting and laughing with each other. Some people were attending for the first time and it was great to welcome them too.
We began with an ice breaker with the theme, What would you take to a desert island? This elicited some interesting objects. Most of them were animate (is that against the rules of the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, I wonder?), namely, “my dog” or “a friend” (in no particular order!).
One lady said she would take her iPhone (other phones are available!), onto which she has downloaded the White Noise Pro app. The app’s makers claim it features ambient sounds of the environment to help with relaxation and sleep. Investigating this app, I came across a review from one user who found the background “sound of a train clikity clack’ing over tracks” helpful.
I have noticed that there are a number of similar mobile apps designed to help people manage their tinnitus – I think maybe I will download one! If you are not a smart phone user, then the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) sells some sound therapy products, and, when the Signal Hub opens in Shrewsbury, some products will be available to test or buy there.
The meeting continued with an informative presentation by Laura, Groups Project Manager at the BTA. Laura spoke about the BTA’s work and tinnitus in general and also described some of the research that is being carried out into the condition. The group seemed particularly interested in research being conducted by neuroscientists, with an emphasis on how stress, anxiety and “emotional exhaustion” may impact upon individuals and lead to tinnitus.
Both the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group and its sister group, the Telford Tinnitus Support Group, are members of the BTA. Individuals can also join the organisation, and it is worth noting that a discount on membership is available for people who are already members of the Shropshire and Telford support groups. Members of the BTA benefit from receiving its quarterly magazine, Quiet, and from discounts in its shop and on its events.
Lisa from the Shropshire Rural Community Council (RCC) also took part in the meeting, providing information about accessing courses in computer skills and about the RCC’s Wise and Well team.
Lisa had the dubious (!) pleasure of drawing the winning raffle ticket – a lovely tin of biscuits. The raffle raised £16.00, which is great, so thanks to Jayne for organising! Christine kindly volunteered to run the raffle at the next meeting, with Joyce volunteering to take on the refreshments! It is fantastic to see people being so enthusiastic about the group and participating in its smooth running.
You may have spotted at the top of this post that the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group now has its very own logo! This uplifting logo has been designed by group member Caroline, who has kindly offered to adapt it for the Telford group too. It was suggested that we might embroider the logo for use at events. Any stitchers among you, step forward please!
A number of group members have expressed an interest in a more informal meet-up between the main meetings – along the lines of a walk/talk/eat gathering (the walking part being optional!). The first such meet-up is planned at the National Trust Pavilion in Carding Mill Valley in Church Stretton at 11am on Wednesday 5 November.
People also expressed a willingness to support Tinnitus Awareness Week in February 2015. I am discussing how we might approach this with the Signal team, so watch this space for more information!
The next full meeting of the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group will be at The Lantern on Thursday 4 December, when it is hoped that various complementary therapists will make presentations – I had better get my skates on with the organisation! If you know of therapists who might like to participate, please contact me.
A number of group members are also keen to stay on at The Lantern after the December meeting for a festive lunch – the cost should be around £7.50, excluding drinks. Again, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to join in – the more the merrier!
You can get in touch via the email address firstname.lastname@example.org , and you can follow the group’s news on Twitter. You can also contact Signal by telephoning 01743 358 356 or sending an SMS to 07950 782 819.