The birth of the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) was one very much driven by people with tinnitus. A 1978 documentary on tinnitus, produced by the campaigning deaf MP, Jack Ashley, had flooded the RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf, now Action on Hearing Loss) with calls. The RNID called a meeting and on a sunny July day in 1979, over 300 people crowded into the Grand Committee Room at the House of Commons. Jack Ashley promised to campaign both inside and outside Parliament, to improve the lot of people with tinnitus. It was asked whether more self-help groups could be formed and an association set up – the British Tinnitus Association. The RNID Council considered the matter and the BTA was born.

Soon there were over 40 groups all over the country. Initially, the BTA was provided with an administrator and office by the RNID, and a tinnitus newsletter included in their journal.

From 1982 onwards, the BTA held two meetings annually, and in 1990 a Working Group was formed to look into the feasibility of setting up the BTA as an independent charity.

1991 saw the start of the new BTA, which became a registered charity in 1992, with volunteers associated with the Sheffield Tinnitus Association taking on the administration and organisational tasks.

In 1994, the first Counselling Training Seminars (now renamed Tinnitus Adviser Training courses) were held, and these have been joined by other professional development courses and events. Tinnitus Information Days were launched in 2012. Tinnitus Awareness Week (now Tinnitus Week) ran for the first time in 1990, and has now become an international event.

From a base of two part time volunteers and a rather rundown office, the BTA now has 18 staff members working from modern facilities in Sheffield and continues to go from strength to strength. We wonder what the next 40 years will bring!