Hyperacusis clinical audiology practice patterns (Jahn & Koach, 2023)
Purpose: Hyperacusis often leads to debilitating psychosocial consequences, but there is no standard protocol for its diagnosis and management in the United States. In this study, we surveyed U.S. clinical audiologists to understand their education and clinical practices surrounding the evaluation and treatment of hyperacusis.
Method: An online survey was distributed to clinical audiologists across the United States. Survey responses were quantified using descriptive statistics and inductive content analysis.
Results: Hyperacusis definitions and clinical practice patterns varied widely across the 102 respondents. Respondents cited a lack of education and training as the primary barrier to effective audiological diagnosis and management of hyperacusis, with most respondents reporting ≤ 5 hr of hyperacusis education. Other primary barriers to effective audiological management of hyperacusis included time constraints, reimbursement, poor sensitivity and specificity of available diagnostic tools, and poor efficacy of available treatments and management strategies. Most respondents (82.5%) agreed that audiologists are the primary professionals who are responsible for implementing hyperacusis interventions. However, 63.3% of respondents reported that their clinic does not have a hyperacusis management protocol, and 80.0% routinely recommend treatment that is outside their scope of practice to implement (cognitive behavioral therapy).
Conclusions: Clinical audiologists in the United States do not receive uniform education on hyperacusis, and they report multiple barriers to its evidence-based diagnosis and management. Effective hyperacusis management necessitates a multidisciplinary approach. The information obtained via this survey will pave the way toward the refinement of interprofessional education programs and the development of systematic, evidence-based clinical protocols for hyperacusis.
Supplemental Material S1. Participant survey.
Jahn, K. N., & Koach, C. E. (2023). Hyperacusis diagnosis and management in the United States: Clinical audiology practice patterns. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_AJA-23-00118