January 2017 update

Dr Derek Hoare at the University of Nottingham is soon to begin a study to help treat children with tinnitus. This project will develop a clinical questionnaire measure for children to guide treatment and improve their quality of life. For adults there are numerous clinical tinnitus questionnaires that measure the severity of tinnitus symptoms which are used to assist with treatments, but nothing specifically to help children.

From research published in 2016, a UK study [1] has shown 1 child in a class of 30 will have clinically significant tinnitus and some international studies have shown it may even be on the increase. Tinnitus also appears to be twice as common in children with hearing loss compared to children with normal hearing.

Tinnitus impacts on children in a similar way to adults; affecting emotional well-being, concentration, listening skills and sleep. Poor sleep can in turn lead to other problems such as poor memory and concentration, irritability, trouble at school, behavioural problems and can affect the whole family’s well-being. Adult clinical tinnitus questionnaires do not address the specific problems children face.
The project will define why tinnitus is a problem for children by gathering perspectives from children who have tinnitus, their parents and the clinicians who look after them. This information will then be used to design a child-focussed questionnaire that can be used in clinical practice and research.

Results from this research will have immediate benefits, improving assessment of the child and focussing treatment options. With the right support and advice, children will be able to manage their tinnitus more effectively. This clinical tool will be the first of its kind and this work has the potential for major national impact and international recognition.

This is a three-year project costing £67,975 and is due to start in 2017.

1. Humphriss R, Hall A, Baguley D. Prevalence and characteristics of spontaneous tinnitus in 11-year-old children International Journal of Audiology 2016; 55:3.