Earlier this month, I attended the British Society of Audiology (BSA) Annual Conference 2019. This was the first time for a number of years that the BSA has held an annual conference and it was a really strong meeting.

It was a good time of year for a conference, and an excellent opportunity to meet up with people, have a catch up and find out what's happening across different projects and different areas within audiology.

It was also really good to see so many people involved in tinnitus recognised within the BSA Awards.

 Claire Benton received the Ruth Spencer Prize for her original work on tinnitus in children and young people, including the BSA Tinnitus in Children Practice Guidance.

Helen Pryce was also recognised for her work receiving the Thomas Simm Littler Award for her pioneering work in patient-centred care, including developing a shared decision making aid - a project which was funded by the BTA


It was also heartening to see Professor David Baguley, the BTA President receive lifetime membership of the BSA in recognition of his phenomenal input into the audiology field, particularly in tinnitus and hyperacusis.

In terms of the content of the meeting, Derek Hoare presented the results of the James Lind Alliance hyperacusis priority setting partnership (PSP). It was great to hear how he talked about the PSP and that the priorities are more than the final Top Ten list. This is always how I've thought about the tinnitus PSP as well - that it's about the bigger list. The Top Ten is great to have and attracts publicity, but all the questions are valid and all worthy of consideration.

It was also very pleasing to hear Derek talk about the progress that has been made on the JLA tinnitus PSP as well. Over the years the majority of the Top Ten questions from this project have received funding and have been worked on. This is covered in more depth in our recent Tinnitus Research Review

Another highlight for me was an interesting discussion on the challenges of drug trials in the audiology space. Professor Jaydip Ray spoke about these. He highlighted in particular some of the issues around recruitment, especially the difficulties of recruiting people to drugs trials in audiology. This can sometimes be challenging because of how the drugs are delivered. A lot of people don't want to have an injection through the eardrum (intratympanic drugs). People also worry about signing up to a drugs trial and being on the control, rather than receiving a treatment - and think it's better to receive some active treatment now, rather than participating in a drugs trial where you may get the control or sham treatment. There are some real challenges to consider as we are likely to see this area of research grow and potentially the challenges of recruitment become more acute.

The final session of the day was looking at tinnitus and hyperacusis focussing on these conditions in children. Dr Veronica Kennedy and Harriet Smith talked about how work in this area has progressed, and in particular about Harriet's work developing a tinnitus questionnaire for children - another BTA funded project. It was a really useful session that ended with looking at some case studies featuring children and young people with tinnitus, which lead to some really interesting debate, as well as highlighting some of the challenges that are around tinnitus treatment as well. 

A good varied conference with an array of subjects covered. I look forward to next year’s event!