The quest for a cure

 

Hi Dave, please tell us a bit about your role at the BTA.

I’m head of development at the BTA. It’s a very broad remit that means I get to develop ideas, test them out and then work them up into projects that might help people with tinnitus. It’s a job I genuinely love doing and I’m never bored at work.

This is the first ever Tinnitus Expo, what will the event offer and how are you involved?

The Expo is a great chance to have everything under one roof. It gives people with tinnitus and their loved ones who support them an opportunity to try out activities that might help to manage their tinnitus, speak one to one with professionals who really understand the condition and get more ideas of things that can help. I’m really pleased to be playing a part in the event and will be leading a workshop called ‘Will there ever be a cure?’

What kind of research work is taking place to find a cure for tinnitus?

There’s a huge amount of research going on. When we talk about a cure for tinnitus we tend to focus on a tablet we can take that will take it away. Potentially before we reach that breakthrough there are a number of other questions that need answering first.

How far away from a cure for tinnitus do you think we are?

It’s impossible to say. It could be just around the corner and a new medication, or more likely an existing medication, is found to provide a solution. But it could also be some way away because we still don’t fully understand why some people get it and some don’t.

What do you think are the main difficulties involved in finding a cure?

I think the main issue is that there is still a lot we don’t know. The tinnitus cure map, which is a new plan to find a cure that has been designed by the BTA but with contributions from lots of experts in their respective fields, is helping to identify everything we know and don’t know which we hope will help.

Dave's talk at the Tinnitus Expo will be around the BTA developed cure map

How is the BTA playing a role in helping to find a cure?

Our vision is a world where no one suffers from tinnitus and what better way to do it than to contribute towards the cure. As well as the BTA developing the tinnitus cure map and sharing it with other researchers (something that has been received very positively by the way), the BTA is championing the search for the cure. We just can’t do it on our own and we need the international medical research community to take the search for a cure seriously. It’s a huge challenge, but we’re taking it on.

What role does teamwork play in the fight to find a cure?

If you look back at all the big medical discoveries of the past, very rarely are any of them the result of just one person working in isolation. The way to drive the search for the cure is to work in collaboration, and occasionally competition, to create a shared desire to solve the problem. The tinnitus cure map has been developed by experts in tinnitus, Don McFerran, an ENT consultant surgeon and trustee of the BTA, has been the most influential in the process, but it’s taken a team of people to contribute and we’ve gone through several revisions to bring us to this point where we think it is worth sharing it at the Expo. And we’d love for it to evolve and grow in the future with further expert input.

How important is funding for the BTA so you can keep doing vital research?

Money is vital in the search for a cure. Anything that helps us to fill in a gap in our understanding about the condition may give us an insight into where the cure might come from. Because the BTA funds research into tinnitus we are part of the patchwork of tinnitus research. Hopefully by funding more tinnitus cure research will help to attract researchers to the tinnitus world. Importantly the BTA is a charity so if you’d like to take part in a fundraising event for us, get in touch as every penny counts!

What would your message be to someone living with tinnitus who is desperate for a cure? What can they do to get the support they need at the moment?

I guess the first thing is to know that we are actively searching for a cure. If we find one you can guarantee we won’t keep it to ourselves, so you really don’t have to worry about searching the internet and paying lots of money for a product that might cure your tinnitus. Sadly there isn’t always a good and reliable body of evidence out there for the products that claim to cure it. In the meantime though there is a lot of things someone with tinnitus can do to help manage the condition. Even though there isn’t a cure (yet) there is a lot of really simple things that can be done that might help to make a difference. Please contact us to find out how we can support you.

 

 

To get tickets and find out more about the Tinnitus Expo, follow this link: https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/Event/talkingtinnitus