Our very first virtual annual conference was held last week and it was a great success!

Aimed at audiologists, ENTs, GPs, hearing care professionals, psychologists, tinnitus support groups and researchers, over 300 people from 28 countries enjoyed a full programme of over 20 online lectures, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities across five days.

It was a BTA conference like no other, but our speakers, facilitators and attendees were all very enthusiastic about the new format. Going online also offered us the opportunity to invite international speakers, and these came from New Zealand and across the USA and Europe. The virtual event also attracted attendees from across the globe, with people logging in from far and wide, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Brazil, Israel, Peru and South Africa. The more accessible format has allowed us to reach more people than ever people, with a record number of attendees registered.

Each day was themed – including the psychology of tinnitus, practical skills and the latest in tinnitus research – with topics ranging from sleep to brain imaging, and internet-based CBT to the effects of Covid-19.

The most popular session of the week was Dr Laurence McKenna’s report on his research into managing tinnitus related insomnia – with over 100 people logging in live, and 300 views ‘on-demand’. Other highlights included the key note presentation from Professor David Baguley on ‘Biobanks – what can they tell us about tinnitus?’ and a panel discussion on ‘Tinnitus and Covid-19’. The pandemic of course has influenced lived experience, research and clinical practice in the tinnitus community, and all of these were covered in the sessions.

What was particularly encouraging was the engagement of our attendees with the live Q&A sessions after the presentations. The online format gave the chance for more questions – no delay in waiting for the roving mic – and people really took advantage of the opportunity to interact.

The sessions will be available online for the next twelve months for attendees. For those who have missed out, post-event access for all the sessions can be purchased from https://www.btaconference2020.co.uk/