Tinnitus management in Ireland: a pilot study of general practitioners


Tinnitus management in Ireland: a pilot study of general practitioners


Naomi Kilroy & Amr El Refaie 



Tinnitus is a phenomenon that affects approximately 15% of the adult population. A minority of patients will experience chronic bothersome tinnitus that has a detrimental effect on their quality of life. Management of such tinnitus is challenging for healthcare practitioners. Primary care services are the first point at which patients seek expert medical advice about their condition and General Practitioners (GPs) must be equipped with the knowledge to appropriately triage and guide patients.


To date, there has been little research surrounding tinnitus management in Ireland. The aim of this study is to determine how GPs assess and manage tinnitus patients in Ireland.


This is a quantitative study in the form of an online survey. The 15-item questionnaire was made available through SurveyMonkey and was distributed by email to GPs in Cork, Kerry and South Dublin.


The survey obtained 43 responses. Sixty-three percent of GPs do not follow any routine criteria for onward referral. Forty percent feel that tinnitus has sufficient impact on their practice to warrant further training. GPs expressed a need for clearer guidance on tinnitus management and better access to resources such as ENT (ear nose throat), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and audiology.


This study demonstrates there is wide variation in how tinnitus is evaluated and managed by GPs, which represents a gap in clinical care. We recommend further research, implementation of a service model for tinnitus, national clinical guidelines, training pathways for primary care staff and establishment of regional direct-access tinnitus clinics throughout Ireland.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s11845-020-02222-6