The latest meeting of the Glasgow and West of Scotland BTA Tinnitus Support Group took place on Wednesday, September 18th.
Group organiser and facilitator Alan Hopkirk was happy to see nine new visitors. Fresh faces add vibrancy to the group as well as providing a new outlook on tinnitus. It is sometimes difficult to take that first step, and we praise those new members for taking action. We have already had lovely comments from some of those who attended.
BTA News and Initiatives
The group were brought up-to-date with the latest news from the recent BTA Expo and Conference.
Safe Around Sound
The BTA’s autumn campaign is Safe Around Sound. The objective is to make everyone aware of the increased volume of noise in public environments and to encourage the use of ear protection when necessary. When we use hearing protection at a concert, for example, we’ll still get a buzz through social interaction without risking damage to our ears.
We may not even be aware of the potential dangers of everyday sounds. Some of these may occur in the gym, at a kids’ party or in the cinema! They are also asking BTA members and friends to use an app to measure the sounds that we hear regularly. This data will help to build awareness of the challenges that we all face with noise day by day
Gold Standard for the BTA Tinnitus Support Group
Alan outlined the new criteria needed to achieve the Gold Standard for the support group. This audit makes sure that each BTA Tinnitus Support Group has consistent elements and adheres to specific standards. In this way, we address issues such as privacy, ethics and confidentiality for the benefit of all group members. We hope to achieve the Gold Standard in time for the next meeting on 26th November.
Points Raised by Attendees
New members were able to describe their tinnitus stories. The ability to share their “unique” feelings is essential, especially since they can do it in a forum where others will be able to understand and empathise.
The Ability to Enjoy Music Once Again
The meeting gave one visitor new inspiration. She believed that music would no longer be a part of her life, but now sees the possibility that she will enjoy it once again. We received this delightfully positive feedback.
I decided that if everyone else could function, it couldn’t be all that bad. I have since been testing myself and found that I can cope with all but the highest-pitched noises…So, thank you, it appears that I can cope with sound and may begin to cope with music once again.
It is heartwarming when we receive messages like this and helps us to believe that the BTA Tinnitus Support Group is worthwhile and makes a difference. However, we always urge a sense of caution and sometimes little by little is better than full steam ahead.
Dentistry and Tinnitus
One new member asked whether Tinnitus could cause dental problems? This question arose because they had experienced soreness and tingling in their gums during an episode of bothersome tinnitus. Alan was not aware of any previously reported connection but did note that somatic tinnitus could occur as a result of dental issues.
Hyperacusis – A Prisoner in Your Own Home
Another new attendee described how hyperacusis could make them feel like a prisoner in their own home. Increasing levels of noise mean than it feels safer to stay indoors. Many understood this dilemma, and Alan emphasised the importance of seeking expert advice as well as the help and support of fellow sufferers.
Genetic Predisposition to Tinnitus
A father and daughter, both with tinnitus, posed the question of whether there might be a genetic predisposition to tinnitus. Whereas some research has shown that there may be genetic considerations in some types of tinnitus, Alan suggested a more likely familial connection. If there is an instance of tinnitus in the family, then perhaps siblings and children will be more likely to listen for it. We will cover this subject, along with many others arising from the meeting in future posts.
Attendance at a support group meeting can give you a boost and help you to understand the condition better. The final words should go to another new attendee who wrote:
It was great to meet everyone and discover how other people are affected by tinnitus and how they are dealing with it.
The next meeting of the BTA Tinnitus Support Group is on 26th November. Please click here to attend.