Alan Hopkirk, Clinical Director at The Invisible Hearing Clinic recently attended the European Tinnitus Course organised by The British Tinnitus Association. The course took place between Thursday 7th March and Saturday 9th March at the Conference Aston in Birmingham.
European Tinnitus Course Origins and Objectives
The late Dr Ross Coles designed the training course over forty years ago. Therefore, the European Tinnitus Course is one of the world’s longest-running tinnitus courses. It was designed for a range of audiology, psychology and ENT professionals in the public and private sectors. Many participants attended in order to take their tinnitus knowledge to the next level. It also acted as a refresher course for those, like Alan Hopkirk, who have worked in the tinnitus field for some time.
The course covered the broad spectrum of tinnitus and hyperacusis. Hence, definitions, basic sciences, methods of measurement and assessment, current research and treatment options were all covered. The revised course content reflected many new findings in a rapidly changing and vibrant field. The 2019 course, above all, presented new concepts and the management of tinnitus and hyperacusis in a multifaceted, evidence-based manner. The 3-day course included smaller group sessions together with regular teaching from a stellar faculty.
Contributors were leading experts in their field due to their wide range of knowledge and hands-on experience.
Professor David Baguley
Professor Baguley spent many years as head of Audiology and Hearing Implant Services at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. He now works as Professor of Hearing Sciences based in the NIHR Nottingham BRC. He is also an eminent researcher, author and current President of the British Tinnitus Association. David covered issues that included methods of care delivery as well as specific forms of tinnitus including musical hallucinations. Alan was pleased to catch up with Professor Baguley especially since he was the principal speaker at THIS 2019 a few weeks earlier.
Dr Laurence McKenna is an author and clinical psychologist working and researching on the psychological management of tinnitus and other hearing disorders. He hails from the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in London where he has worked for the last 33 years. Laurence has recently investigated the use of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in the treatment of bothersome tinnitus. This is also an area of special interest for Alan Hopkirk. Laurence’s contribution focused on the psychological impact of tinnitus on sufferers and relaxation techniques.
Don McFerran has been an ENT surgeon for over 30 years and Consultant at Colchester for the last 20 years. During his ENT training, he worked under Jonathan Hazell and experienced the development of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and the Neurophysiological Model of Tinnitus. This shaped his thinking on tinnitus and enabled him to co-author two books on the subject. Don was able to offer a medical perspective on the measurement and treatment of tinnitus.
Beth-Anne is an audiologist and hearing therapist at St George’s University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust. As the team lead for Hearing Therapy, she is committed to providing an all-encompassing tinnitus service. Her department is one of a very small number who offer mindfulness-based therapy for tinnitus. Her audiological background made her a perfect addition to the multi-disciplinary faculty team. Beth-Anne was able to focus on audiological assessments and novel sound therapies within her contribution to the course.
In Praise of the European Tinnitus Course
Alan Hopkirk praised the course:
I found the course reassuring in that it confirmed lots of what we already do in our practice. At the same time, it refreshed concepts, including outcome measures. It also re-affirmed that there is no definitive treatment for tinnitus or hyperacusis (although there is broad guidance). We therefore tailor individual treatment plans to each patient. Overall, I found the course extremely beneficial and would look to re-visit in the future. The faculty were inclusive and approachable and it was a privilege to have access to their vast knowledge and experience.
Whilst this is not an entry-level course I would highly recommend it for anyone working in this field at a more advanced level, to enhance and refresh their knowledge.