Tinnitus - it's a condition many people have heard of, but few understand.
This week is Tinnitus Awareness Week (6-12 February) and for the estimated six million UK people whose lives are impacted by tinnitus, it's a valuable chance for the subject to be discussed on a more visible platform, with the hope of increasing the public and medical profession's understanding.
We are the UK's only dedicated national tinnitus charity and, through our helpline, we receive calls from people of all ages living with the condition for which, to date, there is unfortunately no cure.
We offer them support and advice, as well as tips for managing their tinnitus, and in 2015-16 we drove more than half of our funding income into researching the condition, looking for new treatment options.
This Tinnitus Awareness Week, we want to seek the support of the nation for these people, too.
A call for action
Today we've released survey findings that have revealed many people with tinnitus feel they aren't getting the best possible help when they're first diagnosed with the condition.
It appears there is a knowledge gap within the medical community about the impact tinnitus can have, and many patients don't feel listened to or supported enough. This is having an unnecessary impact on their quality of life and on the NHS, as they make repeat visits to their GP.
In addition, we've also been talking to GPs, and they have been telling us that they want more support to help them provide tinnitus patients with the best possible care.
That's why, to mark Tinnitus Awareness Week and help tackle this problem, we've issued the first-ever Tinnitus Guidance for GPs, designed to provide GPs with practical advice, information and signposting to resources that are currently available.
We hope the publication of our Tinnitus Guidance for GPs will help to improve the lives of people with tinnitus, as they get increased access to the most up to date advice, treatment and support available.
There is a wealth of information already out there to help, such as our online learning platform www.takeontinnitus.co.uk which has been created for people who've been recently diagnosed.
And, equally, we hope the issue of this guidance empowers and equips medical professionals to help their patients achieve a better quality of life, by providing a resource intended to help not hinder, at a time when the NHS is under increasing pressure.
Tinnitus can be distressing and debilitating. It can affect anyone, at any age. But with the right support, treatment and guidance, it can be managed and there is hope.
Let's stand together for tinnitus this Tinnitus Awareness Week, and aim for a better understanding.
For more information or support for people living with tinnitus, visit the British Tinnitus Association's website.
Show your support for Tinnitus Awareness Week 2017 by joining the BTA's Thunderclap campaign. Sign up here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/51132-together-for-tinnitus