To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are his estimates of the numbers of tinnitus sufferers in the United Kingdom; how many trained specialists are employed in the NHS to help alleviate this condition; what funding is currently provided to charities and research institutions working on tinnitus problems; and what are his plans for future funding and assistance.
It is estimated that between 0·5 per cent. and 1 per cent. of the population are seriously affected by tinnitus. There are 375 consultants in otolaryngology and 13 consultant audiological physicians employed by the NHS in England. The main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research in the United Kingdom is the Medical Research Council (MRC) which receives its grant in aid from the Department of Education and Science. In 1991 the MRC spent £112,000 on research into tinnitus.The Meniere's Society, many of whose members suffer from tinnitus, received a grant of £7,500 in 1991–92 and have applied for a further grant in 1992–93. Decisions on funding for 1992–93 onwards will be announced shortly. There are no plans for funding of any other voluntary organisations at present but any future applications will be carefully considered.