It’s been a busy week in Sheffield for anyone interested in tinnitus! Three tinnitus conferences were held in the city.
Delphi Research Meetings
The first of the tinnitus conferences was a Delphi research group led by Prof Deb Hall. from the University of Nottingham. Prof. Hall and her team are looking to recommend the key features which all tinnitus research should include in work going forward. This doesn’t restrict research to these key features. However, it would mean that if adopted, all future tinnitus research would include them as a matter of course.
I was involved in the (Talk) or psychological research group. Having completed 3 rounds of fine tuning over the last 2 months I attended this final group focus meeting. This involved 19 participants drawn from tinnitus sufferers, researchers and practitioners. Although I was the only participant from Scotland there were also participants from Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands so it was quite a mixed group. Working in smaller groups sessions we reduced our critical points from 24 to 5. This was intense and passionate but pleasantly friendly.
Sound Therapy Group
On Friday it was the turn of the Sound therapy group to repeat the process in a similar manner. My colleague Michael Pavloski had completed the similar initial 3 rounds of input so that again this group could narrow down its recommendations. There will be a third focus group meeting in London in October to look at drug (Pharmaceutical) studies and repeat the process.
Finally, it is for Professor Hall’s research team to compare the results from all 3 groups and hopefully be in a position to recommend the MUST INCLUDE components of all future tinnitus research. It’s hoped this will allow much more meaningful evaluations of any research findings. In simple terms being able to compare “apples to apples” and not “apples to pineapples!”
British Tinnitus Association Annual Conference
The second of my tinnitus conferences was on Thursday. This was the turn of the British Tinnitus Associations (BTA) annual conference. The venue was Sheffield Hallam University and as usual had a number of very interesting sessions.
Following on from the Delphi research group two participants from this and NIHR, Dr Magdalena Sereda and Lucy Handscomb presented on further research. This was again helpful in pointing us in a positive way forward. We also heard interesting presentations on the benefit of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and also EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). These suggested options which again I intend to further integrate or consider for my own treatment tools as appropriate.
One of the apparently simple (but of course not) features was the BTA research mind map. Looking like a very complex (and colourful) London transport map. Its goal is to represent where we are at present. Where we can offer help and improvement in current treatments or those in development. Most importantly it offers a look at a route or routes to develop a cure for tinnitus. It’s very important as it puts down in a visual way what we know. This then allows us to consider what’s missing and perhaps how this may connect now and in the future!
As always it’s good to leave events like these having had new insights into how to deliver better treatment options. This opens my mind to broader or complementary treatments. This is critically important for our practice as fundamentally people are different and unique. What works very well for one person might not be the optimum option for another!