GPs using unreliable websites for tinnitus information, study finds
September 13, 2012
GPs are not always using the most comprehensive and reliable online resources to support them in treating patients with the debilitating hearing condition tinnitus, researchers have found.
The study looked at the 10 main websites used by GPs to get information on clinical practice and found that the two best websites for assessing or managing tinnitus - Map of Medicine and the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) - were rarely used by family doctors, with only two per cent logging on to access their pages.
The research, which involved a team of experts from The University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing, is published in the latest edition of the journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.
Dr Derek Hoare, Senior Research Fellow at The University of Nottingham and the NIHR National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing, said: "We found that there are better options for sources of online information than those currently used by most GPs. Map of Medicine in particular used a rigorous and explicit approach to reporting making its sources of information very transparent and reliable, while The British Tinnitus Association website came out top for the quality of information it currently provides on treatment choice. Despite this, these two websites are rarely used by GPs.
"However, when we analysed the content of the group of websites we found that all were lacking a number of details relating to either assessing or managing tinnitus and so GPs may have to use a combination of websites to be fully informed. Our report also offers a range of recommendations that will help providers of online tinnitus websites to improve their resources."
Tinnitus, a condition in which patients hear a persistent ringing, hissing or buzzing sound in their ears, affects around 10 per cent of the population and is often associated with other illnesses including stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and communication difficulties.
Patients usually access NHS services such as neurotology or audiological rehabilitation through their GPs. However, a recent national survey of GPs by the research team highlighted that many feel their knowledge of tinnitus is limited and they need better guidelines on how to effectively assess, diagnose and refer their patients.
In addition, patients with hearing problems expressed concern of poor GP awareness of the condition and other healthcare professionals such as audiologists highlighted inappropriate referrals received from GPs.
As tinnitus is seen to affect a relatively low number of patients at GP surgeries, many doctors are turning to the internet for information on the condition rather than spending resource on specialist training.
However, while the internet can provide instant access to a diverse range of sources, the volume of information available can often make it difficult for GPs to discern between the sites offering sound advice on the management of the condition and those which are inaccurate and unreliable - a Google search of 'tinnitus treatment' generates 11 million results alone.
The research analysed the content of 10 of the sites most commonly used by GPs - which included commercial, charity and Government-run websites - and used a specialist healthcare information score called DISCERN to rate the quality of the information they offered and their usability.
The study found that the Map of Medicine, ranked highest overall for quality and reliability despite achieving a low score for information on the management of tinnitus. Conversely, the BTA site, which was ranked in second place, had one of the highest scores on information on management choices.
The results indicate that GPs would have to visit at least two websites to gather all the information recommended by the Department of Health for good practice in tinnitus care, which is unlikely to happen in a busy practice.
Ironically, the lowest rated website was the NHS patient health information site NHS Choices. Both the highest and the lowest websites were accredited by The Information Standard.
The report recommends that GPs use both the Map of Medicine and the BTA sites as education tools on tinnitus, or more simply, to use the good practice guide on tinnitus produced by the Department of Health.
The research will also offer valuable information for websites providing information on tinnitus on how they can improve their service and Action on Hearing Loss has already gathered the preliminary findings to be incorporated into a forthcoming overhaul of its website.
The research was conducted by Miss Kathryn Fackrell (Nottingham Trent University), Dr Derek Hoare, Mrs Sandra Smith and Dr Abby McCormack (The University of Nottingham and the NIHR National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing) and Professor Deborah Hall (Nottingham Trent University and the NIHR National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing).
Support and funding for the research came from Action on Hearing Loss and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Unit Programme.
A copy of the paper is available to view online at www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6947-12-70.pdf
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Related Tinnitus Current Events and Tinnitus News ArticlesVisualising plastic changes to the brain
Tinnitus, migraine, epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's: all these are examples of diseases with neurological causes, the treatment and study of which is more and more frequently being carried out by means of magnetic stimulation of the brain. Caffeine intake associated with lower incidence of tinnitus
New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) finds that higher caffeine intake is associated with lower rates of tinnitus, often described as a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear when there is no outside source of the sounds, in younger and middle-aged women.Effectiveness of PTSD Treatment Provided by Defense Department and VA Unknown; Tracking of Outcomes Needed to Manage Growing Burden
The U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should track the outcomes of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) provided to service members and veterans and develop a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to do so, says a new congressionally mandated report from the Institute of Medicine.Research gives new insights into rare disease of the inner ear
A new study has shed light on the factors likely to lead to the development of a rare condition affecting the inner ear.Aspirin intake may stop growth of vestibular schwannomas/acoustic neuromas
Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital have demonstrated, for the first time, that aspirin intake correlates with halted growth of vestibular schwannomas (also known as acoustic neuromas), a sometimes lethal intracranial tumor that typically causes hearing loss and tinnitus. U-M tinnitus discovery opens door to possible new treatment avenues
For tens of millions of Americans, there's no such thing as the sound of silence. Instead, even in a quiet room, they hear a constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, humming or other noise in their ears that isn't real. Called tinnitus, it can be debilitating and life-altering. CU researchers may have discovered a plan to disable Meniere's disease
Researchers at University of Colorado School of Medicine may have figured out what causes Meniere's disease and how to attack it.Researchers Find Early Success in New Treatment for Stroke Recovery
Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have taken a step toward developing a new treatment to aid the recovery of limb function after strokes.Now hear this: Scientists discover compound to prevent noise-related hearing loss
Your mother was right when she warned you that loud music could damage your hearing, but now scientists have discovered exactly what gets damaged and how.Study identifies a simple way to reduce healthcare costs
A study led by a Loyola University Medical Center ENT physician provides a case study of a simple action that can reduce healthcare costs without compromising care.
More Tinnitus Current Events and Tinnitus News Articles
Tinnitus Cure Solution: The Ultimate Tinnitus Treatment & Relief Guide for Overcoming Tinnitus! (Tinnitus Miracle, Tinnitus Relief, Tinnitus Guide)|
Discover How To Overcome Your Tinnitus Fast!
For a limited time, get this Kindle book for just $0.99. Regularly priced at $4.99. Read on any device including PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.
You’re about to discover how to treat and cure your tinnitus permanently, while regaining your sanity and life back. This book explains everything you need to know, and more.
Here Is A Sample Of What You'll Learn...
Learn Exactly what Candida IsMedications that could Lead to TinnitusTips for Preventing TinnitusLearn of Vitamins that Help TinnitusHolistic TreatmentsHerbal TreatmentsAlternative Therapies Like Laser Treatment for TinnitusMuch, much more!
Take action today and download this book for a limited time discount of only $0.99!...
Tinnitus No More: The Complete Guide On Tinnitus Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, & Natural Tinnitus Remedies to Get Rid of Ringing in Ears Once and for All|
by Brian M. Lawrence (Author)
You may be surprised to know that it is estimated over 36 million Americans suffer from "ringing in the ears," or tinnitus. People who have this condition may hear the ringing in one or both ears. It may be a constant sound or it might just come and go from time to time. The volume of the sound ranges from a whine to a squeal. For some people, the condition is so serious that it affects their daily lives. If you are one of the people suffering from ringing in the ears, you probably want to know what causes the ringing sound and desperately needed a way to stop it. Tinnitus is triggered by multiple internal factors and therefore can only be treated by tackling all of those internal elements responsible for tinnitus. Treating tinnitus is not easy. It may be different from person to person...
Tinnitus STOP! - The Complete Guide On Ringing In The Ears, Natural Tinnitus Remedies, And A Holistic System For Permanent Tinnitus Relief|
by Annette P. Price (Author)
Are you suffering from ringing in the ears, or a medical term called Tinnitus? Do you know what causes the ringing sound? And are you desperately needed a way to stop it? Tinnitus is triggered by multiple internal factors and therefore can only be treated by tackling all of those internal elements responsible for Tinnitus. It can only be cured by correctly diagnosing your condition from within, not by masking the noise or by calming the muscles or nerves of the outer ear (as with laser treatments for Tinnitus, for example). In "Tinnitus STOP!", you will learn: - EVERYTHING you need to know about Tinnitus, EXACTLY what causes the noise in your head - The best anti-Tinnitus foods you should eat all the time - The worst foods you should never eat when you...
Tinnitus: Turning the Volume Down (Revised & Expanded)|
by Kevin Hogan (Author), Jennifer Battaglino (Author)
Over 50 million Americans experience some form of tinnitus and there are those who don't realize that the ringing in their ears has a name. Of those 50 million, 12 million are estimated to have severe tinnitus where they seek medical treatment. Approximately two million people are suffering so severely that they cannot make it through their daily activities.
Kevin Hogan has a positive approach to health as a definite goal worthy of determination. Kevin experienced tinnitus, and partly because of this, he treats those who suffer from it with respect!
He heard the usual, You have to live with it, and he does NOT live with it. In addition he has remolded his profession to help those with tinnitus. This book is a positive example, a helping hand, a light in the darkness....
The Consumer Handbook on Tinnitus|
by Richard S. Tyler (Editor)
This book is THE handbook for those suffering from tinnitus. Written by professionals, the text begins with the epidemiology of tinnitus, including classification, incidence in populations, and causes, as well as reviews of different studies. It then addresses the psychological profile of a tinnitus patients, how tinnitus affects a patient's lifestyle, work, relationships, and communications, and the patient's relationship to others around them. Other sections include tinnitus and insomnia, physiological mechanisms and neural models, medical and surgical evaluation and management, tinnitus in children, and finally a history of tinnitus. Sections pertaining to therapy and treatment for the patient include hearing aids, maskers, habituation therapy, counseling, and biofeedback.
Tinnitus Cure: Natural and Traditional Treatment for Tinnitus|
Dr. Giron's Natural and Traditional Treatments for Tinnitus
** This book is FREE for Amazon Prime Members! **
While several Tinnitus relief books are available, few provide as much comprehensive information to help Tinnitus sufferers understand and alleviate the disturbing symptoms. The remedies and treatments provided in this book range from traditional methods used by most physicians to more natural methods that are gaining more recognition in the medical field.
What Others Are Saying About This Book
"Help for Tinnitus! ... It is easy to read and to understand causes and possible solutions." ~ Peggy Baldwin
"Very informative and helpful! ... It's a helpful book and if you've been plagued by tinnitus, I would suggest reading...
Tinnitus Alleviation Therapy: A Self-Help Program for Gentle and Lasting Recovery|
by Maria Holl (Author), Cheryl Hirsch (Editor)
Ringing in your ears isn't fun. But as people age and begin to lose hearing, the chances of tinnitus increase. The Mayo Clinic estimates that one in five people have the condition. But there's no definitive cure for it. Part of the problem is that it results from a range of very different physical, environmental, and emotional causes, everything from bad circulation, high blood pressure, and wax build up to persistent loud noise and stress. Some people have found relief from acupuncture and hypnosis, antibiotics and antidepressants, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, but certain antibiotics and antidepressants have also been know to cause tinnitus. For readers who've tried all sorts of current remedies and still haven't found relief, it's time to read Tinnitus Alleviation Therapy...
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Implementing the Neurophysiological Model|
by Pawel J. Jastreboff (Author), Jonathan W. P. Hazell (Author)
Tinnitus and oversensitivity to sound are common and hitherto incurable, distressing conditions that affect a substantial number of the population. Pawel Jastreboff's discovery of the mechanisms by which tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance occur has led to a new and effective treatment called Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). Audiologists, ENT specialists, psychologists and counsellors around the world currently practise this technique, with very high success rates. TRT, the treatment developed by the authors from the model, has already proved to be the most effective and most widely practised worldwide. This book presents a definitive description and justification for the Jastreboff neurophysiological model of tinnitus, outlining the essentials of TRT, reviewing the research...
Tinnitus - The Complete Guide: Causes, Symptoms, Remedies, Pregnancy, Diet, Vitamins & Much More|
Inside John Osteen’s “Tinnitus - The Complete Guide”
The ultimate tinnitus guide...this guide is written as a useful and informative overview for sufferers of tinnitus.
Up to date information...in an effort to resolve the increasing problem of tinnitus and to help people avoid the condition, research is being conducted by numerous hospitals, universities, and the American Tinnitus Association.
Research has discovered more than one type of tinnitus, the prevalence of the condition, its causes including those linked to other disorders, temporary conditions, and diseases, symptoms, and various remedies. Research is currently looking for a cure to mild and severe cases of tinnitus.
Physicians may treat tinnitus by treating related...
Tinnitus: Take Control (Treatments For Tinnitus Relief) (Hearing Aids) (Volume 3)|
by Chris Scire (Author)
Do You Suffer From Tinnitus Or "Ringing In Your Ears"? Are You Looking For A Cure Or Relief From Your Tinnitus? Although there are many tinnitus books available claiming to offer tinnitus relief through a miracle cure, laser therapy, or some formula of supplements and pills, there are not many that have proven tinnitus treatments that deliver real relief from tinnitus. This relatively short guide reveals the latest developments and technology that delivers real results. This brief guide was born out of the personal and clinical experiences of the author, having used the methods outlined for many years with his own patients, especially the newer technology. It is not acceptable any more for people who suffer with tinnitus to be told just to live with your tinnitus. There is hope. There...