Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head without a true external source. Tinnitus can sound like ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, chirping, or a combination of sounds. Tinnitus may also be accompanied by sound sensitivity. Sound sensitivity or hyperacusis can be defined as a strong discomfort for sounds that would be acceptable to most normal hearing people; discomfort could mean loudness, annoyance, fear, or pain.
At the University of Maryland Hearing and Speech Clinic, we provide individualized tinnitus appointments designed to support our patients' needs in managing their tinnitus. As a teaching institution, our patients are working with graduate students who employ evidence-based practices and are supervised by qualified and experienced audiologists. This teaching paradigm helps not only our patients but also future clinicians who will gain more experience and knowledge from those suffering from tinnitus and hyperacusis.
Due to our unique nature as a teaching clinic, our clinical and student teaching model allows individualized care for not only our patients but our students. Because of this, our initial comprehensive tinnitus appointments are scheduled for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
Our appointments include a tinnitus/hyperacusis evaluation and individual counseling session.
For the tinnitus/hyperacusis evaluation, testing includes but is not limited to: a thorough case history, pure tone assessment, ultra high frequency testing, loudness discomfort level assessment, tinnitus pitch/loudness matching, and otoacoustic emissions.
The individualized counseling session includes a thorough review of the auditory system, theories of tinnitus/hyperacusis, and management options. Listening demonstrations of tinnitus/hyperacusis management devices may be provided as well.
Follow-up appointments, including formal sound therapy treatment, are available as needed based on the individual's management plan.
Our clinic now accepts insurance but costs associated with tinnitus/hyperacusis appointments are not fully covered by any insurance plan. For more information about costs or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 301-405-4218 or by email at hespclinic [at] umd.edu.
Our clinic also regularly hosts a Tinnitus Support and Management Group. The purpose of the Tinnitus Support and Management Group is to provide free information about tinnitus and sound sensitivity to those who are affected and their loved ones. These informative meetings are led by graduate students from the University of Maryland Audiology program.
Meetings occur on a quarterly basis. Each meeting will have a different topic of discussion and last about 1 hour. Graduate students will present a topic for 20-25 minutes and the remaining time is set aside for questions and discussions. These meetings are not intended to be a replacement for formal counseling but instead provide participants with a space to share experiences and ask questions.
If you would like to join our listserv, please email shields3 [at] umd.edu to get updates about our next meeting.