Assessment and Treatment of Tinnitus Patients Using a "Masking Approach"
07 August 2020 (online)
Audiology clinics are increasingly being asked to provide tinnitus treatment services to patients who are severely distressed by tinnitus. It is unclear what levels of tinnitus care are available at different audiology clinics across the nation. Some clinics have staff who are experienced with the tinnitus masking technique or with tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), whereas other clinics may limit their care to the provision of hearing aids. This article is an attempt to provide some basic information for those clinicians who would like to provide at least a minimum level of care for their tinnitus patients using the tinnitus masking approach. The most important requirement is a commitment by the clinician to assemble some basic resources and to structure the clinical schedule so that adequate time is available for historical review, evaluation, trial and selection of devices, and tinnitus counseling. A minimum set of measurements is recommended for inclusion in the tinnitus evaluation process. This informal review summarizes a variety of clinical observations culled from years of direct patient care experience. A tinnitus questionnaire is provided to help clinicians review potentially relevant issues.