The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) is warning of a ‘hidden epidemic’ of isolation amongst the estimated six million people living with the condition in the UK.

Sixty one percent of people with tinnitus say their condition makes them feel isolated, according to a survey of UK adults, conducted by the charity.

The BTA is now campaigning during Tinnitus Week 2019 (4-10 February) to raise awareness of the problem and provide support to those feeling isolated.

David Stockdale, chief executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said: “When people hear the word tinnitus, they tend to think only about the condition’s main symptom – the noise people hear in their ears or their head.

“However, the wider impact tinnitus can have on people’s lives is less understood by the public and GPs alike. Many people feel isolated and unable to talk to their loved ones or colleagues about their condition.

“We hear stories of people avoiding social situations, suffering problems with relationships and being unable to sleep, too.

“It really is a hidden epidemic that’s not spoken about enough and something we need to tackle fast by equipping the estimated six million people who have tinnitus with the right tools and techniques to manage their condition and everything that comes with it.”

It’s estimated that 1.05million GP consultations about tinnitus take place in the UK every year, with the treatment pathway for tinnitus costing the NHS £750 million.

Throughout Tinnitus Week the BTA will be issuing tips and guidance each day on topics including tinnitus and sleep, relationships and social situations.

David Stockdale added: “We know with the right support network in place and the right guidance, people with tinnitus can live perfectly normal lives.

“This week we’ll be issuing lots of helpful advice and, also highlighting the huge benefits that can come from our UK network of support groups. Ninety-five percent of people who attend our groups say they feel less isolated by doing so, proving the value of meeting like-minded people and sharing experiences.”

Earlier this year the BTA reached a key milestone of opening its 100th support group in the UK.

Further information can be found on the BTA website. Full details of the week can be found at www.tinnitus.org.uk/tinnitus-week-2019.