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Leeds Trinity researcher heads expert panel on tinnitus

Posted on 07 February 2017

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An expert Psychologist at Leeds Trinity University will be the Principal Speaker at the Inaugural Hearing and Tinnitus Information Show in Glasgow.

Dr James Jackson, an Associate Principal Lecturer in Psychology, will present his latest research highlighting the strong link between tinnitus and prolonged emotional distress.

The aim of the event is to showcase innovative new technologies and to offer insight into hearing impairments, and how the effects of such conditions can be moderated.

"Conditions like tinnitus and hearing loss can really shake someone's confidence and change their lives, and it's easier than you'd think for people to cope badly and to simply suffer," said Dr Jackson, who hopes his research will be a breakthrough for supporting people with these conditions. 

"An individual with tinnitus is three times more likely to be clinically depressed and is more likely to self-medicate – and there are other complications. It can be a very distressing condition. If TV is too loud, you can turn it down or leave. With tinnitus, if you leave, it comes along with you. This lack of control makes tinnitus very unpleasant for a lot of people.

"By identifying and understanding which aspects of tinnitus are causing individuals emotional distress, targeted interventions – such as mindfulness therapy or enhancing your sense of control – can be put in place to help moderate these effects.

"What I really want from this talk is for sufferers to go away with the idea that they can take back control, and that there are ways in which this can be done."

As well as being a keen researcher in this area, Dr Jackson also suffers from tinnitus himself, so raising awareness of the ways in which people can positively moderate the effect of the condition is of great importance to him.

Event organiser and Clinical Director of The Invisible Hearing Clinic, Alan Hopkirk, invited Dr Jackson after hearing him speak at the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) Annual Conference in November, which was also in Glasgow.

Alan was impressed by the research he presented and has used it in real life situations with his own patients.

"I saw him present his CAR (Cortical Awakening Response) research and for me it made perfect sense as to what I often experienced with actual tinnitus patients. They tended to be fatigued, their sense of enjoyment in life was lost and they wished they could get their old self back. CAR goes some way to explaining this phenomena and I have used the research myself to explain some of the feelings my patients experience and how we can begin to "normalise" themselves and bring their "old self" back," said Mr Hopkirk.

"I was sold most by James's enthusiasm in presenting! This combined with the fact he has an acquired sudden severe hearing loss and he has had tinnitus since childhood, totally suggested to me that we couldn't find a more ideal Principle Speaker for our inaugural event; an academic, a researcher and a "real" person who has direct experience of the subject! I'm delighted he accepted and look forward to a very interesting day."

The Inaugural Hearing and Tinnitus Information Show will take place at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on Wednesday 8 February.