This Tinnitus Awareness Week 5-11th February 2024. Dr Caitlin Barr, CEO of hearing charity Soundfair urges anyone suffering with this debilitating condition to make their tinnitus (termed “T” by people who live with it) visible by talking about it publicly, sharing their experiences and taking action to get help. We can all be part of ensuring that tinnitus is taken seriously and treated effectively.
Tinnitus Awareness Week in Australia is championed by Soundfair, a national charity that runs the Tinnitus Australia Initiative. This years’ campaign theme is “T is for Tinnitus Awareness”. Across Australia, people are encouraged to get involved by sharing their experiences of “T”, or by talking about Tinnitus through running a “T” themed event or activity, sharing their events with the hashtag #MyT4Tinnitus.
Our goal is to make tinnitus visible to the wider community and to ensure that people living with “T” feel seen and act. As part of the campaign, Soundfair is promoting their national advice line which is freely available to help people with tinnitus find the right support, faster. Tinnitus Awareness Week is proudly sponsored by MindEar and Find My Hearing Clinic.
“While most of us experience transient tinnitus at some point in our lives, for many, the uninvited ringing or noises in the ear arrive and never leave, and becomes a mental health problem. However, there is hope and there are things that can be done to manage and stop it becoming overwhelming and inescapable. For some, it can be as simple as stress reduction techniques, for others, targeted treatments involving sound therapy, psychological therapy, and treatment of other conditions (such as hearing loss) are needed. And there are now new, evidence-based treatments being released often – so there is a great deal of hope.” says Dr Caitlin Barr.
Tinnitus is a condition characterised by the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when there is no external sound source. Thirty percent of Australians experience tinnitus. If it’s not you, it’s someone near and dear to you.
- Up to 70% of people aged 18 to 35 years have experienced tinnitus and 16% experience it more than once a week (study by Hearing Australia, federal government agency)
- For 15-20% of all people, tinnitus causes distress and significantly impacts their life, their mental health and their ability to function in daily tasks.
- 45% of people with tinnitus experience depression, and 33% experience depression.
- People with disturbing tinnitus can feel there no escape and have suicidal thoughts.
“As someone who supports people with distressing tinnitus and who has tinnitus myself, this Tinnitus Awareness Week, I want people to know that they are not alone. Many people who are living with tinnitus are made to feel crazy, or silly for feeling overwhelmed or upset about tinnitus. There is support and management available, there is hope.” says Dr Emma Laird, tinnitus sufferer and lead of the Tinnitus Australia initiative.
There is help available, but there are also many rogue treatments that take advantage of desperate people. It is critical that people get access to unbiased information, early. The Tinnitus Australia initiative, through Soundfair, runs a free national advice line, PH: 03 9510 1578. This advice line is staffed by Soundfair’s qualified tinnitus counsellors who provide advice and connect callers to a pathway of support.
Get involved in Tinnitus Awareness Week
- Share your own tinnitus experiences and stories with the hashtag #MyT4Tinnitus
- Run T themed event/s or activities,
- Purchase a campaign T shirt
- Take and post images making a “T” with your hands.
- Soundfair is raising funds to help Tinnitus Australia provide vital care and support for people living with tinnitus through our free advice line and resource packs. Donations can be made online here: https://soundfair.org.au/donate/#donate