The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has today announced the award of the Marie and Jack Shapiro Prize to a study that sought to investigate ways of increasing access to psychology-based tinnitus treatments.

The paper “The TinMan study: feasibility trial of a psychologically informed, audiologist-delivered, manualised intervention for tinnitus” led by Drs John Taylor and Dean Thompson from the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and a team of patients, clinicians and researchers – found that although the patients found the treatment acceptable and helpful, audiologists identified potential barriers to use that will need to be addressed before it can be used in clinic.

The prize was judged by the BTA’s Professional Advisers’ Committee, who commented that it was “A useful study to explore a newly emerging way of increasing access to psychologically informed treatments for tinnitus via low-intensity, audiologist-led care. It is great to see robust feasibility studies being developed to explore how such approaches need to be designed and adapted and to consider if this type of intervention can be of use to patients. Although the findings may indicate that this approach has significant barriers, in the longer-term, this type of work is likely to have an impact on how tinnitus care evolves.”

Chief Investigator Dr Derek Hoare said: ” On behalf of the team involved in this work, I would like to thank the BTA and say how delighted we are to be awarded this year’s Shapiro Prize. This work was funded by the National Institute for Health Research and was a highly collaborative effort. The team included patients and patient advocates, clinicians, and researchers. Together we produced and tested a treatment manual that can be used by audiologists to provide psychological support for people with tinnitus. With a little more work, we plan to test the new treatment manual in a larger trial and make it ready for use in clinic.”

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said: “There is currently no cure for tinnitus, but psychology-based treatments have a strong evidence base for their effectiveness. Access to these treatments is patchy and it is great to see people thinking about new ways of delivering these interventions.

“We’re delighted to award Dr Hoare and the team the Marie and Jack Shapiro Prize. This project was an interesting initial study and provides both the clinical and research communities with a number of important learning points. These could help lead new research towards more effective and accessible treatments for tinnitus.”

The Marie & Jack Shapiro Prize is given each year by the British Tinnitus Association to the piece of published research, by a UK based author, ‘most likely to result in improved treatment or public awareness of tinnitus,’ that was published in the last calendar year. The prize is named after the late Jack Shapiro, the founder of the British Tinnitus Association, and his wife Marie, who both played an important role in the establishment of the charity and in raising awareness of tinnitus.