The Role of Audiologic Evaluation in Progressive Audiologic Tinnitus Management
Progressive Audiologic Tinnitus Management (PATM) is based on the premise that tinnitus is managed most efficiently using a hierarchy of clinical services that address different levels of need. PATM includes five levels of management: (a) triage; (b) audiologic evaluation; (c) group education; (d) tinnitus evaluation; and (e) individualized management. This article provides an overview of PATM and focuses on the procedures that make up the Level 2 Audiologic Evaluation. The evaluation is conducted to assess the potential need for medical, audiologic (hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis), and/or mental health services. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, Hearing Handicap Inventory, and Tinnitus and Hearing Survey are used to differentiate effects of tinnitus and hearing loss. If indicated, patients are interviewed with the Tinnitus-Impact Screening Interview. Patients requiring amplification receive hearing aids. Often, management of hearing loss at Level 2 addresses any problems that were attributed to the tinnitus, which obviates further tinnitus-specific intervention.