Audiology delivers most cost-effective tinnitus therapies

Study

A study funded by the British Tinnitus Association(BTA) into the healthcare cost of tinnitus management inthe UK has calculated that the average cost of tinnitustreatment per patient per year is £717, equating to anNHS healthcare bill of £750 million per year.

Audiology delivers most cost-effective tinnitus therapies

The study – a collaborative effort between the BTA, OptimityAdvisors and an advisory group comprising of tinnitusexperts with backgrounds in audiology, ENT, researchand general practice, calculated that over 1.05 millionGP consultations for tinnitus take place each year, andthat the condition costs society £2.7 billion per year.

The team mapped out the clinical pathways and treatmentoptions used by people who seek help for their tinnitus.To generate an overall average NHS treatment cost andestimate cost-effectiveness, costs and probabilities of apatient receiving a treatment, and benefiting from it, wereestimated using evidence from expert opinion, researchliterature, a patient survey, and national statistics.

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British TinnitusAssociation and leader of the study said: “With over 6million people living with tinnitus in the United Kingdom,and the prevalence of bothersome tinnitus increasing, therewas a pressing need to examine the costs of tinnitus carein the UK and to provide a bench mark for the economicevaluation of new therapies or modified pathways.

“Although over 6 million people in the UK have tinnitus,there is no standard treatment pathway for tinnituspatients within the NHS. Possible therapies includeeducation and reassurance, cognitive behaviouraltherapies, sound enrichment or amplification of externalsound via hearing aids. However, the effectiveness ofmost therapies is somewhat controversial. As healthservices come under increasing pressure to use limitedresources more effectively, there is an increasing needto demonstrate the value of tinnitus therapies, and howthis value can be enhanced.

“The objective of this project was to map out existingclinical practice, estimate the NHS costs associated withthe approaches used, and to obtain initial estimatesof cost-effectiveness. With an average treatment costof £717 per patient per year, and an average cost of£10,600 per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) gainedacross all pathways, NHS provisions for tinnitus are costeffectiveagainst the National Institute for Health andCare Excellence (NICE) cost-effectiveness threshold.”

The full paper is available here on an open-access basis

Source: British Tinnitus Association

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