A new report shows that less than a third of GPs have had any training on how to deal with tinnitus.
More than seven million people in Britain are affected by the condition, according to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID).
But in a poll carried out by the organisation, 70% of GPs said they have never received any training to treat tinnitus, which is often described as ringing, whistling, humming or buzzing in the ears or head.
In 2006, RNID published figures which showed 41% of respondents said their tinnitus had a negative effect on their personal relationships, while 42% said the condition had a negative effect on their work life.
RNID spokesman Brian Lamb said: “Tinnitus can be a debilitating condition for many people, leaving them feeling isolated and stressed – with sometimes disastrous consequences for their work and personal lives.
“This can be compounded by a lack of understanding among GPs who are not always aware of how to help patients manage their tinnitus, and may simply turn them away with no advice other than to ‘learn to live with it’.”
The RNID is calling for GPs to take a more understanding and holistic approach to patients with tinnitus, and to refer those whose condition has a severe impact on their lives to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
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