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      Children with tinnitus (aged 8-16) and parents invited to take part in new research study

      A new study, investigating the experiences of children with tinnitus, is looking for volunteers to take part.

      By: Harriet Smith, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre | 17 May 2019

      Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head when there is no sound coming from outside the body. It is often mistaken to be a problem only experienced by adults. In fact, research suggests that as many as one child in every class of 30 experiences tinnitus that negatively affects their day-to-day life and wellbeing. Whilst many research studies have explored the tinnitus problems faced by adults, very few studies have investigated the experiences of children.

      A knowledge of potential tinnitus problems is important for health professionals in their assessment of tinnitus severity, and is important for determining whether or not a treatment has been effective. Tinnitus is most often ‘subjective’, meaning that the sound can only be heard by the person experiencing it. As a result, health professionals must rely on the person to report their symptoms and the impact they have on their life. Clinical questionnaires are often used by health professionals as a way of understanding and measuring tinnitus impact. Whilst there are several tinnitus questionnaires available for use with adults, none are suitable for use with children.

      New research

      My PhD study, funded by the British Tinnitus Association, aims to develop a clinical questionnaire that can be used to measure the impact of tinnitus on children. Based at the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, my project involves working closely with specialist NHS centres that regularly manage children who have tinnitus. First, I am investigating all possible ways in which tinnitus can affect children. These findings will be used to create a new questionnaire, which will be tested in clinics. The project is exciting as the questionnaire will be the first of its kind to be developed!

      Children with tinnitus

      Get involved!

      My current study invites children with tinnitus (aged 8-16) to share their experiences in individual and group discussions. The sessions, taking place in Nottingham, Bolton, and London, will explore how tinnitus can affect feelings, thoughts, activities, and relationships, at home and at school. To encourage children to share their experiences, the sessions will involve fun and interactive activities, such as drawing and game play. As part of the study, parents and clinicians are also invited to share their experiences in telephone discussions.

      If you are aged 8-16 and have tinnitus (or you are a parent or carer of a child with tinnitus) we would love to have your experiences included! Children will receive a £10 gift voucher as a thank you for taking part.

      Please visit the study web page for more information or email harriet.smith@nottingham.ac.uk.

      Harriet Smith, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre
      Harriet Smith, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre

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