Sheffield, UK — The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has presented the Marie & Jack Shapiro Prize to Dr Lindsay St Claire, senior lecturer at the Centre for Hearing and Balance Studies, University of Bristol, for her paper “Caffeine abstinence: An ineffective and potentially distressing tinnitus therapy.”

The prize and £250 cash was awarded at the charity’s 18th annual conference in Sheffield, UK, which was attended by over 100 audiologists, hearing professionals, and BTA members.

The Marie & Jack Shapiro Prize is given each year at the BTA Conference to a UK author who has published research that is most likely to result in improved treatment or public awareness of tinnitus. 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 during the 1970s and in raising awareness of tinnitus.

St Claire’s paper was one of nine that was short listed for the prize. The judging panel was formed from the BTA’s Professional Advisers’ Committee and its Council of Management.

The St Claire paper identified that there is no evidence to suggest that abstinence from caffeine can alleviate tinnitus symptoms, and, in fact, the reverse may be true. The research highlighted the need for further evidence-based approaches and is likely to prompt a change in clinical practice, which will affect the lives of thousands of tinnitus patients.

The judges considered that it is an original and important addition to existing literature, which is well thought through and has convincing results, on a topic that has long been overlooked until now.

David Stockdale, CEO of the BTA, said in the press statement, “The winning paper has informed clinical practice in terms of advice and counseling in tinnitus clinics nationally, and it is vital that such research into tinnitus continues so that one day a cure for tinnitus can be developed.”

St Claire, a Chartered Health Psychologist with a background primarily in Social Psychology, commented, “The team involved in the research is thrilled and extremely proud to have been recognized by the BTA. We want to champion evidence-based practices to help people with tinnitus and to challenge ‘therapies’ and misleading advice. which are not only useless, but also irksome and possibly distressing for tinnitus patients.”

SOURCE: The British Tinnitus Association