To mark the start of Tinnitus Awareness Week (6-12 February 2017), Professor David Baguley, president of the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), reflects on the last 12 months and his hopes for tinnitus care moving forward.

A yearly event like Tinnitus Awareness Week (TAW) gives an opportunity to reflect. What has happened in the field over the twelve months, have we made any progress in the last year, and are we any closer to interventions that will effectively remove, or prevent tinnitus? On a personal level this has been a year of great change: a move from a frenetic NHS job in Cambridge to becoming a Professor of Hearing Sciences at the University of Nottingham, with freedom to follow my research interests at last.

In the tinnitus field this has been a busy year. Some highlights included the Tinnitus Research Initiative conference in March, attracting hundreds of tinnitus researchers from around the world to hear and debate the latest research, the BTA annual conference highlighting clinical and research initiatives, and the publication of the first BTA Annual Tinnitus Research Review, collating and summarising tinnitus research findings from across the scientific literature. Whilst there has been no breakthrough, there is a strong sense of growing pace and depth to the tinnitus field, so that when developments come they can quickly be assessed and then translated into clinical practice. Sustaining this requires effort, commitment, time and resources, all of which are in limited supply, but TAW encourages and focuses interest in the subject, and is a huge support to these sustained endeavours.

I wish that TAW didn’t need to happen: that there were not people with tinnitus unable to find local care, that there were no tinnitus associated broken nights nor troubled days, and that no-one would experience tinnitus for the first time in the twelve months to come, but that is not yet the case: however, we are allowed to hope, and to put that hope into action.

Tinnitus Awareness Week runs from 6-12 February 2017 aiming to get the nation talking about tinnitus and highlight the stories of those living with it. For more information and support please continue to visit our website through the week