This year, for the very first time, the Better Hearing Institute is teaming up with the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) to promote Tinnitus Awareness Week— a single week during Better Hearing Month in May, that is set aside to focus specifically on increasing public awareness about tinnitus and most importantly the need for increased funding for tinnitus research. There currently is no known cure for tinnitus. Although it is important to note that a BHI study published in Hearing Review found that many tinnitus sufferers report that their hearing aids significantly help them with their tinnitus.
We offer this Tinnitus Awareness Week eToolkit as an additional option for hearing health professionals for use in their practices during the week of May 13 to May 19, 2012.
Nearly thirty million Americans—almost twice as many as previously believed—suffer from persistent, chronic tinnitus. That’s about ten percent of the U.S. population. And for people ages 65 to 84, that number jumps to almost 27 percent. What’s more, tinnitus is now the number one service-connected disability of returning military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The BHI study found that 43.5 percent of survey respondents with tinnitus were helped at least mildly with hearing aids. And 3 out of 10 were helped moderately-to-substantially. For those whose where hearing health professionals used best practices in fitting hearing aids, that figure jumped to 50 percent.
It is important for BHI and the hearing health community to help promote Tinnitus Awareness Week as part of our Better Hearing Month efforts, especially because relatively few people seek help for their tinnitus—despite the fact that there are effective therapies available, including the use of hearing aids, to help tinnitus sufferers.
BHI offers a comprehensive eGuide, “Your Guide to Tinnitus,” that hearing health professionals can use with their patients and in their practices. This 14-page guide covers definitions, causes, the impact of tinnitus, treatments, practical tips for managing tinnitus, and good self-help references.
Other tinnitus treatment readings can be found on the BHI website at http://old.betterhearing.org/professionals/tinnitus.cfm.
The ATA has developed a variety of materials for your use in promoting Tinnitus Awareness Week.
To download Tinnitus Awareness Week resources, including a sample press release, fact sheet, and posters, visit ATA.org.
Thank you for all you do to help raise awareness of the importance of hearing health in your communities.