BTA extends services to support more people living with tinnitus
National charity the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) – the only national charity dedicated to supporting people with tinnitus – is extending its support services to help more of the 7.5 million people living with the condition in the United Kingdom.
To complement the existing Freephone helpline and email support, the BTA are launching two new text-based services – SMS chat and web chat which will provide free, accurate and personalised information to people with tinnitus in order to help them manage the incurable condition successfully.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing noises in the head or ears where there is no external source. There is currently no cure for tinnitus and although many people can manage it successfully, for around 10% of sufferers, it can seriously affect their quality of life, often linked to stress, anxiety or depression.
Colleen Hewitt, BTA Information/Tinnitus Support Manager said: “We have introduced our webchat and text facilities as it’s a great way of communicating discreetly and flexibly. Many people prefer to send a text or engage in web chat where they can feel more confident putting their feelings and emotions out there. The services are also more accessible for people who may have difficulties using a telephone due to hearing loss.”
She added: “We are a helpline aimed at people struggling with issues around and associated with tinnitus, such as anxiety, depression and low mood, but we are also here to answer questions, signpost people to other services and to support the families and friends of those living with tinnitus.”
Sam contacted the BTA at a very low point in their life: “I was extremely anxious and found myself in quite a dark place wanting to end it all, feeling I had no hope. The adviser helped me … they were very patient and time was not of issue. I left feeling a lot better and more positive. I am now doing lots of mindfulness techniques and doing what works for me. My tinnitus is still there but I’m able to manage it now and keep doing the things I love to do.”
Colleen concluded: “Our team of trained staff and volunteers are very knowledgeable and caring. Nothing is too large or too small for us to deal with. We are very much looking forward to helping people with tinnitus via these new services.”
The BTA webchat facility can be accessed at www.tinnitus.org.uk, and the BTA SMS text service at 07537 416841. Both services are available Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.