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Edmonds CM, Clark KD, Thielman EJ, Henry JA. Progressive Tinnitus Management Level 3 Skills Education: A 10-Year Clinical Retrospective. American Journal of Audiology. 2022 Sep 1; 31(3):567-578.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine progressive tinnitus management (PTM) Level 3 skill utilization among Veterans in the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Healthcare System 6-10 years after completing the PTM workshops. METHOD: In fiscal year 2020, the Tinnitus Workshop Follow-Up form was mailed to Veterans who completed the workshops during fiscal years 2010-2014. Veterans were identified as receiving care via the traditional face-to-face method or clinical video telehealth (CVT). Data were compiled to determine which, if any, PTM skills were being used 6-10 years later and the impact on self-reported ratings of well-being. RESULTS: More than half of the respondents reported using all four self-management skills up to 10 years postcompletion; relaxation was utilized by more Veterans than the other three skills. Approximately 69% reported improved ability to control reactions to tinnitus. At least half reported ratings of improved well-being. Eighty-eight percent of the respondents said they would recommend the workshops to someone with bothersome tinnitus. Veterans who received care via CVT reported using fewer skills than those who received care face-to-face; however, the CVT respondents reported the same or slightly better ability to cope with tinnitus, less bothersome tinnitus, and improved ratings of well-being. Finally, most participants who responded to an open-ended question about their workshop experience reported it as positive. CONCLUSIONS: This clinical focus project suggests that PTM Level 3 skills continue to be utilized up to 10 years after participation in the workshops. Although there were reductions in the number of skills used, Veterans'' ability to manage reactions to tinnitus and improvement in self-reported ratings of well-being indicate successful ongoing tinnitus management efforts. Respondents who received care via CVT did not report lower self-reported ratings of well-being or appear less likely to recommend Level 3 group PTM to other Veterans with bothersome tinnitus.