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The autumn meeting of the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group at The Lantern in Shrewsbury was well attended and lively, with people travelling from throughout the county and beyond. One lady said she would take her iPhone (other phones are available!), onto which she has downloaded the White Noise Pro app.
I have noticed that there are a number of similar mobile apps designed to help people manage their tinnitus – I think maybe I will download one!
The meeting continued with an informative presentation by Laura, Groups Project Manager at the BTA. Both the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group and its sister group, the Telford Tinnitus Support Group, are members of the BTA. Lisa from the Shropshire Rural Community Council (RCC) also took part in the meeting, providing information about accessing courses in computer skills and about the RCC’s Wise and Well team.
Lisa had the dubious (!) pleasure of drawing the winning raffle ticket – a lovely tin of biscuits. You may have spotted at the top of this post that the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group now has its very own logo! The next full meeting of the Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group will be at The Lantern on Thursday 4 December, when it is hoped that various complementary therapists will make presentations – I had better get my skates on with the organisation! A number of group members are also keen to stay on at The Lantern after the December meeting for a festive lunch – the cost should be around ?7.50, excluding drinks.
The Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group is facilitated by Signal and the Audiology department at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. Tinnitus can be incredibly isolating and debilitating, it can lead to depression and force people to withdraw into themselves. There are ways to combat and alleviate the symptoms that people hear and so in November the first Signal Tinnitus Support Group will launch in Shropshire. Hi Fiona, the next Tinnitus group meeting in Shrewsbury will be in February.The exact date and location are not yet fixed but I will add your e-mail to our list and notify you when it has been set. Shropshire Tinnitus Support Group hosted a coffee morning at Signal: The Hub in the Riverside shopping centre in Shrewsbury during Tinnitus Awareness Week 2015 this week. It was lovely to see a number of regular group members from both the Shropshire and the Telford support groups, many of whom had travelled from far flung parts of the county on a cold and chilly day!
The morning was also supported by Signal staff members and trustees who were able to introduce themselves to people and talk about their roles in the organisation. In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the morning, both appreciating the support of existing group members and meeting some lovely new potential members, who I am hoping will come along to our regular meetings! Signal, in partnership with the Audiology department at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, is launching the Telford tinnitus support group on 4 February. One in ten people in the UK experiences some degree of tinnitus, the condition where you hear noises, such as, whistling, buzzing, murmuring or rumbling, from inside your body rather than from an outside source. Mutual support groups aim to alleviate this impact and help people to live well with the condition for which, in most cases, there is no known cure.
Participants will be able to speak to professionals from the Audiology department and will also have access to information from the British Tinnitus Association.
Signal and The SaTH NHS Trust’s Audiology department will facilitate the second meeting of the Shrewsbury tinnitus support group at 10am-12noon on Wednesday 12 February at The Lantern Community Building, Meadow Farm Drive, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, SY1 4NG. This week is Tinnitus Awareness Week 2015 and we at Signal are supporting local tinnitus support groups to get the message out. Tinnitus is the perception of sound within one or both ears where no external source is present. Anyone can get tinnitus, with about 10% of the population living with some level of tinnitus at any one time.

I am now in my 40s and my hearing has deteriorated over the past few years, particularly in my left ear. This was an opportunity for people with tinnitus to get together in a friendly place and chat about the condition – among other things. In my role within Signal I understand the importance of communication and the need to reduce isolation. The next NTDF Tinnitus Support Group session is taking place this Thursday 8th January from 2pm – 4pm. David is the resident IT expert and is responsible for overseeing and managing the network, computers and website.
This is the fourth time the group has come together and it was lovely to see people chatting and laughing with each other.
The app’s makers claim it features ambient sounds of the environment to help with relaxation and sleep. If you are not a smart phone user, then the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) sells some sound therapy products, and, when the Signal Hub opens in Shrewsbury, some products will be available to test or buy there.
Laura spoke about the BTA’s work and tinnitus in general and also described some of the research that is being carried out into the condition. Individuals can also join the organisation, and it is worth noting that a discount on membership is available for people who are already members of the Shropshire and Telford support groups.
This uplifting logo has been designed by group member Caroline, who has kindly offered to adapt it for the Telford group too. The first such meet-up is planned at the National Trust Pavilion in Carding Mill Valley in Church Stretton at 11am on Wednesday 5 November. I am discussing how we might approach this with the Signal team, so watch this space for more information!
Again, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to join in – the more the merrier! You can also contact Signal by telephoning 01743 358 356 or sending an SMS to 07950 782 819. Tinnitus is the perception of sound, or sounds, where there is no corresponding external sound. If you have Tinnitus and would like to meet others that do as well, to exchange experiences and coping strategies or if you’d just like a friendly place to meet then come along and bring a friend. We also welcomed a number of people who experience tinnitus but had not known about the support groups previously. The Links Cafe, based at The Hub, did a fabulous job in providing much needed warming drinks and, of course, cake!
This occasion was no exception with lots of conversation and sharing of thoughts about individual experiences of tinnitus and coping strategies.
Many of us concluded that we were of the opinion that our tinnitus did not result so much from any problems with our hearing, but was rather more to do with ‘brain function’. This coincides with Tinnitus Awareness Week 2014, which puts the spotlight on the experiences of people living with the hearing condition nationally.
The condition can impact upon everyday life, affecting concentration or causing sleeping problems or depression. The Telford tinnitus support group will get underway at 10am-12noon on Tuesday 4 February at the Education Centre, Princess Royal Hospital, Grainger Drive, Telford, TF1 6TF. People living with tinnitus, or the rarer condition hyperacusis, are warmly invited to join the support group to share their own experiences and find out more about different ways of managing the conditions. As an organisation which supports individuals concerned by and groups and services concerned with hearing loss and deafness, one of Signal’s roles is to raise the profile of conditions such as tinnitus.

Although it is often assumed that tinnitus occurs as a result of disease of the ears, this is often not the case. I was coming home from school when I was hit by a speeding motorcycle travelling at over 60 miles an hour in a 30-mile-an-hour zone.
I did, however, also have glass from the motorcycle’s headlight embedded in my left ear, but which luckily did not rupture my ear drum.
Over the past three years I have also developed tinnitus in the one ear where the glass had been lodged. I had some really nice conversations and found out a number of things about tinnitus which I had not known before. Tinnitus can be a barrier for many people, but tinnitus support groups can help people over this barrier and this is why Signal will continue to support such groups however we can. Most of them were animate (is that against the rules of the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, I wonder?), namely, “my dog” or “a friend” (in no particular order!). Investigating this app, I came across a review from one user who found the background “sound of a train clikity clack’ing over tracks” helpful. The group seemed particularly interested in research being conducted by neuroscientists, with an emphasis on how stress, anxiety and “emotional exhaustion” may impact upon individuals and lead to tinnitus. Members of the BTA benefit from receiving its quarterly magazine, Quiet, and from discounts in its shop and on its events.
Christine kindly volunteered to run the raffle at the next meeting, with Joyce volunteering to take on the refreshments! The noises are usually unique to individuals, but often heard as different types of ringing. The second group will meet in Telford in the new year so please keep an eye open for dates. The topic of anti-depressant use was discussed with many of the conversation participants observing that they had been prescribed medication to assist in the management of their tinnitus.
However, for myself the importance of this week takes on a personal slant, as I myself have tinnitus.
Visits to my local Audiology and Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) departments showed that I had only sustained mild hearing loss in my left ear, but I was told that this would possibly worsen as I aged. The Audiology and ENT diagnosis is that this is most likely linked to the trauma I received when I was hit by the motorcycle.
Judging by the smiles on most people’s faces, it looked like most people had a really good time.
It is fantastic to see people being so enthusiastic about the group and participating in its smooth running.
This is a useful additional source of income for the group and goes towards the costs of communicating with members through the post, venue hire and fees for guest speakers. My tinnitus is a high-pitched, ringing squeal which goes up and down in volume at different times. Sometimes yes – particularly when I am in a quiet environment the ringing gets to a very high level – but most of the time I am not bothered by it. It amazes me sometimes how this very clear sound which I hear is not heard by anyone else around me, but that is tinnitus and unless you experience it yourself it is difficult to comprehend what it is and what it means to those who have it. Shi monitors brain, nerve and spinal cord function during surgical procedures in which those structures may be injured by the procedure.

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