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Tinnitus in 10: What Every Audiologist Should Know to Provide Research-Based Care

Tinnitus is an invisible condition affecting 10 percent to 15 percent of adults (Hoffman and Reed, 2004). Chronic tinnitus is defined as the persistent perception of sound when there is no external source (Jastreboff, 1990). It generally is accepted that tinnitus is manageable and not bothersome for about 80 percent of those who experience it (Davis and Refaie, 2000; Hoffman and Reed, 2004; Jastreboff and Hazell, 1998). That is, most people who experience tinnitus tend to ignore it and are not interested in receiving specialized clinical services.

Topic(s): Hearing, Tinnitus, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Meniere’s Disease (MD), tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), tinnitus education (TED), tinnitus masking (TM)


Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2019

Shocking Tinnitus Treatment Approaches

A number of attempts are underway to use neural stimulation to modulate tinnitus perception, including sound stimulation paired with somatosensory stimulation. The effectiveness of these treatments has been variable. It is well described in the literature that cochlear implants can often provide some level of tinnitus suppression, when the implant is being utilized. However, the invasiveness of the procedure and risk for further damage to the cochlea, make its application for tinnitus management alone currently implausible.

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today March/April 2019

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CODING AND REIMBURSEMENT | Demystifying CPT Code 92700

There are Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for almost every audiology procedure that exists. It is important to use the code that most accurately represents the audiologic procedure or service provided, which is often very straightforward.  

Topic(s): Audiologist, Bone-Anchored Hearing Devices (BHADs), Bone-Conduction Implant (BCI), cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP), speech-in-noise, Tinnitus, saccade, Practice Management, Coding, Reimbursement, Compliance, CPT - Current Procedural Terminology

Getting Information About Tinnitus

Are you curious about the information your patients find online regarding tinnitus? If so, you may be interested in a study by Deshpande et al (2018).

In 2017, these authors searched Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for information related to tinnitus. The most popular platform was Facebook, while the least popular was Twitter. Regardless of the platform, there was a considerable amount of misinformation. The authors discuss the implications of these findings. 


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Turn Off the White Noise Immediately…Well Maybe Not!

A recent review in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery discusses potential negative unintended consequences of broadband noise (BBN) for tinnitus therapy. Attarha et al (2018) present an argument suggesting that data demonstrating influence of BBN on maladaptive plasticity in the auditory pathway may further impair central function and result in a net increase in neural activity (or loss of inhibition) related to tinnitus perception.

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The Cuban Medical Crisis

From late 2016 through August 2017, U.S. government personnel serving on diplomatic assignment in Havana, Cuba, reported neurological symptoms associated with exposure to “auditory and sensory phenomena.”  The report of a “sonic attack” was pervasive in the media, despite such a weapon being physically unlikely.  A recent communication published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) provides an overview of findings from 21 individuals exposed to the “auditory and sensory phenomena” including tests of cognitive function, mood, balance, hearing, and vision.

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Shocking News about Tinnitus Treatment

Precisely timed sound stimulation coupled with weak electrical pulses delivered to the neck or cheeks could bring relief from tinnitus. This is the potentially ground-breaking news from researchers at the University of Michigan. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Hearing difficulty (HD) and tinnitus in the presence of normal audiometric thresholds represent a clinical challenge. So-called, hidden hearing loss (HHL) has captured significant interest from clinicians and researchers in attempts to understand factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Etiologies ranging from cochlear synaptopathy to central auditory processing deficits have been suggested. Most audiologists have come across these patients with complaints of hearing problems (particularly in noise) but normal hearing.

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SSRI and Tinnitus

Anxiety/stress are common comorbid factors to chronic tinnitus. Thus, it common to see patients with tinnitus on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are believed to increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by limiting its reuptake into the presynaptic cell, thereby increasing the level of serotonin available to bind to the post-sympatic receptor. SSRIs are commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, etc.

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