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This is my silence: Please listen

Three steps that must be taken to improve the tinnitus patient journey

The ‘This Is My Silence’ report from the British Tinnitus Association, which includes the findings from a new survey of more than 2,000 people with tinnitus, was compiled in consultation with healthcare professionals across a range of disciplines.

It was identified in the report that there has been a 22% drop in the number of tinnitus patients offered a referral to specialist care by their GP since March 2020 – despite a climb in cases, links with anxiety and depression, and new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance emphasising the importance of referrals.

The study showed that an appointment with an audiologist or ENT specialist was 1.7 times more likely to reduce feelings of stress around tinnitus than an appointment with a GP, but evidence suggests there was already a perilous lack of capacity in specialist tinnitus services prior to Covid-19, making it more difficult for GPs to refer onwards. One in three GPs have since had an urgent referral to specialist care rejected during the pandemic.

The report makes three key calls to action that would be the most impactful in improving the patient journey.

Calls to action

  1. Commissioners to invest in proven secondary tinnitus services so that GPs have somewhere to send patients without subjecting them to unacceptably long waiting times.
  2. Introduce a standardised nationwide management model so that all patients get the same support for tinnitus no matter where they live or who they see.
  3. Elevate tinnitus within the education agenda by making it an assessed subject in medical exams.

Read the report

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