What are the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) guidelines for assessment and management of chronic tinnitus?

Updated: Feb 27, 2020
  • Author: Aaron G Benson, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
  • Print
Answer

Answer

In 2014, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) released the first evidence-based clinical guidelines for the assessment and management of chronic tinnitus. The major recommendations include the following [24] :

  • Conditions that if promptly managed may relieve tinnitus should be identified during the initial evaluation of a patient with presumed primary tinnitus
  • Patients with tinnitus that is unilateral and associated with hearing difficulties or that persists for 6 months or more should undergo a comprehensive audiologic examination. 
  • Imaging studies of the head and neck are not recommended specifically to evaluate tinnitus unless one or more of the following is present: tinnitus that localizes to 1 ear, pulsatile tinnitus, focal neurologic abnormalities, and/or asymmetrical hearing loss
  • Distinguish patients with bothersome tinnitus from those with nonbothersome tinnitus; educate patients with persistent, bothersome tinnitus about management strategies
  • Patients with hearing loss and persistent, bothersome tinnitus should be offered a hearing aid evaluation, sound therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy
  • Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, anxiolytics, or intratympanic medications should not be offered as a primary treatment for persistent, bothersome tinnitus
  • Ginkgo biloba, melatonin, zinc, or other dietary supplements or transcranial magnetic stimulation should not be recommended for treating patients with persistent, bothersome tinnitus

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!