Tinnitus and Hyperacusis

Roles and Responsibilities of Audiologists

Audiologists play a central role in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of persons with tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. Professional roles and activities in audiology include clinical/educational services (diagnosis, assessment, planning, intervention, and management), prevention and advocacy, administration, and research. See ASHA's Scope of Practice in Audiology (ASHA, 2018) and ASHA's Preferred Practice Patterns for the Profession of Audiology (ASHA, 2006).

Appropriate roles for audiologists include the following:

  • Remaining informed of research in the areas of tinnitus and hyperacusis as related to the audiologist's contribution to patient management.
  • Providing prevention information and promoting hearing wellness.
  • Educating other professionals about the role of audiologists in tinnitus and/or hyperacusis management.
  • Identifying individuals with bothersome tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.
  • Conducting comprehensive audiologic evaluations, including otoscopic examination of ear canals.
  • Referring the patient to other professionals, as needed, to facilitate access to comprehensive services.
  • Participating in multidisciplinary team consultation (see ASHA's web page on Interprofessional Education/Interprofessional Practice [IPE/IPP]) for the assessment and management of a patient with tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.
  • Proceeding with hearing aid evaluation, fitting, and orientation, as appropriate.
  • Making recommendations for sound therapy and/or tinnitus maskers, as appropriate.
  • Counseling patients and families/caregivers to enhance their understanding of, acceptance of, and adjustment to tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.
  • Completing appropriate documentation, including interpretation of data and summary of findings and recommendations.
  • Developing and using outcome measures, as appropriate, to measure the efficacy of any intervention provided.
  • Advocating for individuals with tinnitus and/or hyperacusis at the local, state, and national levels.

As indicated in ASHA's Code of Ethics (ASHA, 2016a), audiologists who serve this population should be specifically educated and appropriately trained to do so.

Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists may encounter individuals with complaints of tinnitus and/or hyperacusis within the populations that they serve. See ASHA's Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (ASHA, 2016b).

Appropriate roles for speech-language pathologists include the following:

  • Providing appropriate referrals for patients who complain of tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.

Content Disclaimer: The Practice Portal, ASHA policy documents, and guidelines contain information for use in all settings; however, members must consider all applicable local, state and federal requirements when applying the information in their specific work setting.