Prof David Baguley,
PhD, MBA,Professor of Hearing Sciences,
NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre,
University of Nottingham; Division of Clinical Neuroscience,
School of Medicine, University of Nottingham;
Nottingham Audiology Services,
Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, Nottingham, UK.
Until really quite recently, the field of tinnitus was very insular. Tinnitus publications, and conferences, attracted little interest. Those clinicians who were interested came from the fields of audiology and otology, with a smattering of psychologists. Some auditory neuroscientists were engaged with the topic but often as a side-line to their major field of interest.
This has now changed, and tinnitus clinical and research endeavours have both benefitted from multidisciplinary input, and a new generation of tinnitus-focused colleagues has arisen to drive the field forward. A most welcome development has been the substantive involvement of industry partners, and the instigation of well-designed and funded pre-clinical and clinical trial research, particularly in pharmacology. A cure has so far eluded us , but is being sought, and there are here and now evidence-based interventions to reduce tinnitus impact and associated distress.
It has therefore been a joy to collate this Tinnitus series of articles for ENT & Audiology News, and to set before you some of the perspectives upon tinnitus that are exciting me at this time. I make no apology for having chosen topics that I am personally monitoring: as indicated above, the fact that there is a wide field for me to have chosen from is a great encouragement. We hear in interview format from Professor Jos Eggermont, a pioneer in tinnitus physiology with decades of experience and reflection to share. Jos and I could have continued our discussions for a very long time!
In our authored pieces, Dr Sarah Michiels shares her clinical and research experience in somatically modulated tinnitus, which is very prevalent, yet poorly understood. Dr Chris Cederroth, a biologist by training and experience, (and now, joyfully, a colleague of ours at Nottingham University) shares his insights into sex differences in tinnitus, and research into the genetics and heritability of tinnitus. Dr Will Sedley is a clinical and academic neurologist, with huge insight into brain mechanisms of tinnitus, and shares his perspectives on neural predictive models of tinnitus. Finally, Dr Liz Marks writes from a clinical psychology viewpoint about mindfulness, and how research has been able to demonstrate the substantial practical opportunity that this practice, both ancient and modern, has for people with troublesome tinnitus.
The vitality and energy of the tinnitus field at the present time is so encouraging. It may be some time before we can meet together in person, and so I have really enjoyed putting this section together so there is new, inspiring, clinically relevant material that we can share and discuss. Enjoy, and I hope the material has application and relevance in your setting.
1. McFerran DJ, Stockdale D, Holme R, et al. Why Is There No Cure for Tinnitus? Front Neurosci 2019.
David Baguley has clinical practice in the UK NHS (Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust) and privately with the Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Network (www.tthn.co.uk). His research work is supported by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), but his views are his own and do not represent those of the UK Department of Health and Social Care nor NIHR. David has ongoing consultancy with Otonomy and Auris Medical. He receives book royalties associated with tinnitus.