I’m thinking about adding tinnitus services to my practice. Is developing a tinnitus specialty a challenge?
It’s no secret that tinnitus can be difficult to treat. It’s not a black-and-white matter where there’s a one- size-fits-all approach. The good news is that the industry has seen more research and progress in tinnitus treatment during the last five years than ever before. We know more than ever about tinnitus, its causes, and the many ways it can impact our patients.
Audiologists are very knowledgeable with diagnostic testing, hearing aid selection and fitting, and counseling patients with hearing loss. In my experience, clinicians are, by and large, less comfortable when it comes to tinnitus specific recommendations and counseling. I really enjoy working with clinicians in showing them the parallels between the two conditions, and helping them to offer effective solutions for their patients.
What is most frustrating for me as a clinician is the number of patients who walk through the door who feel hopeless that there can be anything done to mitigate their tinnitus. Unfortunately, the perception that little can be done to help those suffering from tinnitus lingers. It’s no longer a correct perception, but it will take time for us to change that way of thinking.