Fiona Checkley, Volunteer Coordinator of the Shropshire and Telford Tinnitus Support Groups, gives an interview to Wave…
“The Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group is celebrating its second birthday and the Telford group is not far behind. Around 100 people stay in touch with the groups’ activities and the Shropshire group regularly has about 25 people who come along to the quarterly meetings. They are a highly supportive bunch with strong friendships that have been formed.
“Group members have enjoyed interactive presentations by practitioners of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, creative writing and even the Chinese exercise of Chi Kung. Recently we had an interesting discussion with a GP from an Advanced Primary Care Service, who gave tips on how to approach your own GP about tinnitus. Signal supports the groups alongside Shropshire NHS Audiology, so meetings benefit from the presence of a hearing therapist too.
“Since I trained as a tinnitus adviser with the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), we have also established monthly information and support drop-in sessions at Signal: The Hub in Shrewsbury and Wellington Civic & Leisure Centre. In addition, the BTA’s Chief Executive, David, has spoken to the Shropshire and Telford support groups about tinnitus and the research that is being carried out into the condition.
“I think everybody’s experience of tinnitus and how they cope with it is personal. Sometimes I feel my own tinnitus is like a swarm of bees, and I think, if I run, perhaps I could get away from it. What I find the most satisfying about the support groups is that people appreciate swapping notes with other people who live with tinnitus. Often it will be the first time they have really spoken to anybody about their own experience.”