Why should we conduct tinnitus assessments for our patients?
Why should we conduct tinnitus assessments for our patients? There are several reasons. First of all, tinnitus assessment allows for improved communication with your patient. As audiologists and hearing aid dispensers, it's our responsibility to manage hearing disorders to the best of our ability. By improving that communication, and establishing trust and rapport with your patient, they will open up to us a little bit better. It gives us a framework for what that patient is dealing with. Every single tinnitus patient is different and has unique needs. Having a frame of reference for where they are experiencing is absolutely vital. Along those lines, conducting a tinnitus assessment is an affirmation of their tinnitus, and reassures the patient that we acknowledge that their tinnitus is real to them, further building on the trust they have in us.
An assessment allows us to categorize the tinnitus. You can have two people with the same quality of tinnitus, but maybe one has maskability and one doesn't. Perhaps one person's tinnitus sounds like crickets chirping, and another person describes theirs as the sound of bacon frying. Being able to categorize that tinnitus helps gets us on the same page as the patient. Furthermore, assessment is needed to establish a baseline for tinnitus treatment and subsequent assessments, as well as helping us to select the most appropriate treatment for our patients. Finally, the tinnitus assessment is a critical part of our documentation, which is required for legal reasons, HIPAA, billing, worker compensation, and best practices.