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University trains NHS in new method to combat hearing deficiency


Aston University in Birmingham, UK has announced a new and unique course specifically for audiologists and other NHS workers. Comprising of six workshops, the course will begin on 4 May 2006. It is the only one of its kind that specifically teaches practitioners how to use new cognitive techniques on patients with the hearing deficiency, tinnitus.

Within the UK tinnitus is a relatively common condition, affecting approximately five per cent of the adult population. The most common symptom of the condition is the occurrence of persistent noises in the patient’s head or ears. These noises are often described as ringing, whistling, buzzing and humming, and can affect the quality of the sufferer’s life.

The course, which is entitled ’Managing your Tinnitus patient: using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques in audiological practice’, aims to provide clinicians with the most recent developments and skills used to work with patients who have the condition. Developments in treating the condition have led to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) being identified as an effective form of treatment. It is also the first course offered by Aston University in continuing professional development (CPD) for Audiologists.

Tinnitus patients’ thoughts often reflect emotional issues such as despair, persecution, hopelessness, loss of enjoyment, a desire for peace and quiet, and beliefs that others do not understand. Negative thinking has been proven to cause behavioural changes that reinforce the patient’s awareness of the tinnitus. CBT therefore works by helping to break this negative cycle, thus giving patients the resources to make positive changes. The course will illustrate to practitioners how to get patients to do things and think about things differently, using CBT to shift the perception of control from the tinnitus to the patient.

Amanda Casey, who will be leading the first day of the course, said: ‘The main benefit of attending this course is that clinicians will acquire the basic tools to start using cognitive behavioural techniques (CBT) with tinnitus patients. The evidence suggests that it is important we address patients’ underlying beliefs and thoughts about the experience of having tinnitus if we are to change their perception of it’.

All workshops will include opportunities to practice clinical skills through a variety of methods.

Hannah Brookes | alfa
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