Pathophysiology of Tinnitus and Evidence-Based Options for Tinnitus Management Tinnitus is the perception of sound that has no source outside of the head – it is a “phantom” sound. A great many people experience chronic tinnitus, which can be problematic to different degrees. To date, no cure for tinnitus has been discovered in spite of worldwide efforts from researchers ... Article
Article  |   December 21, 2017
Pathophysiology of Tinnitus and Evidence-Based Options for Tinnitus Management
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James A. Henry
    Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research & Development (RR&D) Service, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, VA Portland Health Care System, Portland, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: James Henry has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: James Henry has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: James Henry has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: James Henry has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Part 4
Article   |   December 21, 2017
Pathophysiology of Tinnitus and Evidence-Based Options for Tinnitus Management
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, December 2017, Vol. 2, 157-168. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG2.157
History: Received July 24, 2017 , Revised August 19, 2017 , Accepted August 27, 2017
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, December 2017, Vol. 2, 157-168. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG2.157
History: Received July 24, 2017; Revised August 19, 2017; Accepted August 27, 2017

Tinnitus is the perception of sound that has no source outside of the head – it is a “phantom” sound. A great many people experience chronic tinnitus, which can be problematic to different degrees. To date, no cure for tinnitus has been discovered in spite of worldwide efforts from researchers studying the pathophysiological mechanisms of tinnitus. Until a cure is discovered, individuals whose tinnitus is bothersome have evidence-based options available. Tinnitus management is provided mainly by audiologists, otolaryngologists, and mental health (MH) providers. The starting point for most patients is to receive an audiologic evaluation. Audiologists can provide tinnitus counseling and fit hearing aids, both of which can be beneficial for tinnitus management. Patients with symptoms of secondary tinnitus (somatosounds) should be referred to an otolaryngologist for a medical examination. If further tinnitus-specific services are needed for primary (idiopathic) tinnitus, then MH providers can offer cognitive-behavioral therapy and audiologists can facilitate different approaches to sound therapy. It is essential for all providers to follow evidence-based guidelines when offering tinnitus management services.

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