The need for effective training of clinicians to deliver Tinnitus Management is not new. For 17 years while working in the NHS, I regularly received some 30 new referrals each month. When I first took up my post as Head of Hearing Therapy Services in East Lancashire, I inherited a two and a half year waiting list!
Since the early 1970s, the management of tinnitus had been within the remit of Hearing Therapy, and we Hearing Therapists were in short supply. In 2004, however, the Department of Health decided there was no further requirement to train new Hearing Therapists. Since then, the already small number of Hearing Therapists (only around 150 in the whole of the UK at their peak) has dwindled through natural wastage - mostly retirements. The responsibility for tinnitus management was left to Audiology - an already massively stretched hearing diagnostics and hearing aid fitting service. Skill sets for Audiologists and Hearing Therapists are very different.