Help-seeker satisfaction with diagnosis and treatment of tinnitus

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Abstract

Objective: To examine help-seeker satisfaction with the first communication of a tinnitus diagnosis by a healthcare provider, whether help-seekers undertook treatment and how they rated this treatment.
Design: A survey design assessed tinnitus characteristics and distress, health status, help-seeking, diagnosis communication, treatment and patient satisfaction. Study sample: A self-selected cohort and a population-based cohort.
Results: Satisfaction scores were examined against demographic, clinical factors, and type of healthcare provider. A total of 281 adults participated (median age 61.6, IRQ = 10.8 years), 52.3% sought help for tinnitus and 22.4% received treatment. The most frequently seen healthcare providers were general practitioners (34.0%), audiologists (29.3%) and ear, nose and throat specialists (25.9%). About two-thirds (64.1%) of help-seekers were unsatisfied with the first communication of a tinnitus diagnosis they received, and 56.5% rated their first tinnitus treatment as poor. Help-seekers were significantly more satisfied with audiologists than other providers regarding the communication of the first tinnitus diagnosis. Higher tinnitus distress scores were significantly associated with lower patient satisfaction with communication of first tinnitus diagnosis. No other factors were associated with patient satisfaction.
Conclusion: There are significant communication barriers along the tinnitus clinical pathway. Identifying and addressing these barriers could improve patient satisfaction.
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of British Society of Audiology, International Society of Audiology, and Nordic Audiological Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

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