From 11 February, the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) ran Tinnitus Awareness Week to support a condition that affects 10% of the UK population. According to their press release: “The focus for Tinnitus Awareness Week 2013 is the role that tinnitus support groups can play.

Tinnitus

“Tinnitus support groups offer a vital lifeline for people around the country, offering a chance to share experiences, find out how others cope and discuss latest information on treatment.”

There are an estimated six million people suffering from the condition nationwide, and the aim is for more of those suffering to seek advice on how to handle the condition.

Claire Arthur, Groups Co-Ordinator for the British Tinnitus Association comments that: “Despite 10% of the population experiencing tinnitus, it is a frequently misunderstood condition and for the most severely affected, it can be an isolating one.

“Tinnitus support groups can offer a lifeline, enabling people to share experiences, find different ways of coping and begin to help others to do the same.”

Tinnitus sufferers experience a ringing, buzzing, roaring or clicking sound that seems to start in the head or ears. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 12% of men who are 65-74 years of age are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus is identified more in white people.

There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective is where only the sufferer can hear the noise, and is the most common type. This is caused by problems in the inner and outer ear. The other type is objective tinnitus, where your doctor can hear the noise after they do an examination. This can be caused by a blood vessel problem.

Although some sufferers find the condition leaving with time and age, others may have to resort to medical or surgical treatment. Temporary tinnitus can be caused by a numbers of factors including a cold, a head injury, or prolonged exposure to a loud noise – commonly after music concerts. Some experience it so severely that it impacts with their daily activities.
UEA student Joshua Rayman isn’t entirely sure when he started suffering with tinnitus.

“As a rough estimation, my first memory of it was after a gig in Skegness in 2007, which lead to a temporary bout of it for a few days. After I started university it started to not go away.”

Unlike many other sufferers, Josh says that tinnitus doesn’t affect his daily life much.

“Day-to-day it doesn’t intrude too much on my life, thankfully. Probably the most frequent thing is I tend to avoid silence whenever I can, particularly at night time when I have to leave TV or music playing, otherwise I tend to focus on the sound of my tinnitus instead.”

Being heavily involved with motorsport, Josh decided to get involved with the BTA to raise awareness for other drivers.
“Before I took a break from racing to come to university, I never took care for my hearing or even really knew I should be. So aside from raising money for the charity to help out those affected more by the condition than myself, I wanted to raise awareness of hearing protection at race circuits, particularly for the drivers.”

A large part of his fundraising activities include running the Silverstone Half Marathon, which takes place on 3 March.
So how is the fundraising going?

“I’ve never run a fundraising campaign before, so I couldn’t really say. However, I am pleased by and appreciate every donation that comes in,” Josh comments.

He aims to help the BTA minimise the impact tinnitus has on sufferer’s lives.

“As it’s a condition that currently has no cure, the work of the charity focuses on helping those with the condition to deal with it and minimise it’s effect.”

The support given by the BTA to those with tinnitus relies entirely on donations, receiving no funding. If you would like to help in raising awareness of tinnitus, get in touch with Emily Broomhead at emily@tinnitus.org.uk. You could also contact her by phone on 0114 250 9933, and if you would like to donate, visit justgiving.com/BTA.

If you would like to sponsor Josh, visit his Just Giving page at justgiving.com/IAMRAYMAN