Anglia Ruskin student lands national honour

Published: 12 September 2017 at 15:25

Eldré Beukes with the Marie & Jack Shapiro Prize

British Tinnitus Association’s annual research prize goes to online treatment study

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A project led by a PhD student at Anglia Ruskin University has been awarded a prestigious research prize by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA).

The Marie & Jack Shapiro Prize is an annual award presented to the research “most likely to result in improved treatment or public awareness of tinnitus”.

The winning study was led by Eldré Beukes, who worked alongside Anglia Ruskin colleague Professor Peter Allen, George Vlaescu, Vinaya Manchaiah, Viktor Kaldo, Gerhard Anderson and David Baguley, an Honorary Professor of Audiology at Anglia Ruskin.

Eldré created and tested an online service that used internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) to help those with tinnitus better manage their symptoms. This online service aims to reduce the distress, anxiety and depression associated with the condition.  The techniques used help sufferers cope with the emotional and physical side-effects such as stress, lack of concentration and insomnia.

After selecting the winning paper from a shortlist of 12, the BTA judges said that the paper:

“presents a first exploration of internet-based CBT to alleviate tinnitus, and demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of the approach. 

“iCBT could enhance the availability of treatments for tinnitus sufferers, and reduce waiting times and pressure on services. With challenges to service provision, novel approaches such as this are critical.”

The prize was presented to Eldré and Professor Baguley by the Falklands War veteran, author and speaker Simon Weston CBE at the BTA’s 24th Annual Conference in Sheffield.

Eldré said:

“What a huge honour! Together with my co-authors, I am thrilled to be awarded this prestigious prize. Many thanks to the BTA for this privilege. It certainly inspires me to continue this work. Seeing the positive effect this research has had for those distressed by tinnitus has been very encouraging.

“Due to the high prevalence of tinnitus, creative approaches are essential to provide additional intervention options. Utilising the internet removes geographical and existing service constraints. In addition, it can provide access to strategies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, not readily accessible to those with tinnitus.”

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said:

“We are delighted that a paper which has an obvious clinical benefit for people with tinnitus has been awarded the Marie & Jack Shapiro Prize.”