This year’s Tinnitus Awareness Week is February 6-12, and Salus University educators stress that the need for knowledge surrounding this condition is great. According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), this condition—commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears”—affects nearly 45 million people in the United States and of those, 20 million have chronic tinnitus.
“Tinnitus can really be quite debilitating,” said Martin Pienkowski, PhD, associate professor, Salus University Osborne College of Audiology
. “There’s currently no cure, but tinnitus can be managed and treated with mixed results.” The ATA calls tinnitus “one of the most widespread underestimated health maladies in the world.”
That’s why, in 2013, the University added an online Advanced Studies in Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Certificate Program
to its menu of advanced studies options. The comprehensive curriculum, six courses in total, provides a framework for best practices in the assessment and management of tinnitus and hyperacusis.
“Hearing loss and tinnitus—a product of hearing loss—are highly prevalent and increase with age,” said Dr. Pienkowski. “Due to the changing field, if you want to treat patients well, you need to upgrade your knowledge base.”
Dr. Pienkowski points out that treatment options for tinnitus (along with hyperacusis, a disorder in loudness perception) are quickly evolving. In fact, rapid research is making it necessary for him to completely update his lectures every two years.
According to Girija Sundar, PhD, director of Distance Education, the certificate program is for anyone who wants to specialize in this area, start a specific program, advance their career or research, and/or gain skills. “The program is flexible to download from any part of the world to gain current knowledge,” she says.
Dr. Sundar specifically called out the high incidence of tinnitus in the military as an increased need in the field. “Right now, we have a host of servicemen and women returning [to the United States] and a large number have tinnitus—serious tinnitus,” she said. “The more professionals to treat them and provide services, the better.”
Learn More about the Certificate Program