Greek specialist visits tinnitus team to learn more
Last updated on 08 June 2012
A Doncaster health service for people who suffer from a common hearing problem has been visited by a Greek specialist interested in providing similar care to patients over there.
The tinnitus service provided by Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is renowned for the holistic way it cares for patients who suffer from the condition – a combined approach including cognitive behavioural therapy which has been shown to have the best clinical outcomes, according to a Dutch study published last week in The Lancet.
There is nothing like it in Greece, which is why Nicholas Vrailas – who runs a chain of hearing aid providers in Athens – came and spent three days with the Doncaster team to learn more with the aim of launching a similar service over there.
Tinnitus is thought to affect around one in eight of the UK’s adult population and Coldplay’s Chris Martin recently revealed that he has it. The common experience can include persistent whistling, humming or whooshing sounds in the ears or head that last for more than five minutes. Some people can initially find this distressing, which may lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety or other conditions that can then further exacerbate the symptoms of tinnitus, creating a vicious circle.
The Doncaster service, which is provided at Chequer Road Clinic, aims to give patients who have been referred by their GP more power and control over their tinnitus. Patients attend a three-hour group education session where they learn more about the condition, how the ear works, ways of coping with tinnitus, and options for further care.
They are then invited to choose further support, including cognitive behavioural therapy skills, sound therapy such as hearing aids or listening to music, and a six-week relaxation course. Patients are also offered one-to-one appointments with the tinnitus team, as required.
Hearing Therapist Sandy Grimes, who leads the tinnitus team at Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The British Tinnitus Association contacted us to ask if we could provide Nicholas with further information, as he was interested in setting up a similar service in Greece. We were very happy to assist by welcoming him here to learn more and observe the service in action, with patients’ consent.”
Nicholas Vrailas, Executive Director of Greek Hearing Centers, said he was finding the visit to Doncaster extremely informative and helpful. “It is a very interesting approach,” he said, “and I am keen to see how we can translate it to the Greek culture and system, where there isn’t a national health service providing this kind of care.”
renowned for the holistic way it cares for patients