Objectives: To study the compliance of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians to the American Association Otolaryngology-Head - Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) clinical practice guidelines (CPG) for tinnitus and to identify the disparity of both diagnosis and management options in the absence of a local protocol for the management of adult tinnitus.
Materials and methods: A voluntary and anonymous questionnaire was emailed in a Google spread-out sheet format to all practicing ENT physicians across the country (n=370). Overall, 126 ENT physicians responded to the questionnaire (34% of the physicians to whom the questionnaire was sent).
Results: Medical history focuses on tinnitus characteristics and otological signs, and symptoms are often queried (80%-98%). Physicians routinely perform an otoscopic examination, whereas other relevant possible physical findings, such as temporomandibular joint disorders or neck trauma, are less frequently examined. Treating physicians have the most frequent recourse to sound therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in accordance with AAO-HNS CPG.
Conclusion: The publication of the AAO-HNS CPG for tinnitus is important, permitting a common approach for the diagnosis and management of primary tinnitus (PT). A diagnosis and management scheme that takes into consideration both the AAO-HNS CPG for tinnitus as well as physician diagnosis and management paradigms is suggested.