Consensus on hearing aid candidature and fitting for mild hearing loss, with and without tinnitus

Chief investigator

Professor Deborah Hall

Study team

Dr Magdalena Sereda
Dr Derek Hoare

Richard Nicholson
(Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust)

Funder

British Society of Audiology (part funding)

Study period

2012-2013

 

NHS audiology departments are the main provider of services for people with tinnitus in the UK. The most common management strategy is to provide information, advice and reassurance and discuss whether hearing aids might be beneficial. Hearing aids might be given to:
• overcome hearing loss,
• improve communication, which may reduce stress and anxiety often associated with tinnitus,
• enhance the loudness of everyday sounds which might ‘drown out’ the tinnitus.

Surprisingly, there is no research evidence on the specific benefits of hearing aids for tinnitus (Hoare et al., 2011) and no standard treatment pathway (Hoare et al., 2012). Decisions are influenced by the experiences or personal opinions of individual audiologists, such that patients currently get different treatment depending on which audiologist they see. In particular, people with mild hearing loss and tinnitus receive the most variable treatment.

We have conducted a Delphi review (series of questionnaires with controlled feedback) among audiology professionals across the UK, to determine the feasibility of designing clinical trials in this area.

We have so far identified practices that are considered important when recommending or fitting hearing aid for a patient with tinnitus and practical issues where there are divided opinions (Sereda et al., 2015)