An Evaluation of a Continuing Education Workshop for Audiologists on the Assessment and Management of Tinnitus
Introduction: Tinnitus assessment and management is an important component of audiology. The benefits of continuing education (CE) workshops in the field of tinnitus have not been published. This study evaluated the outcomes of a workshop centered around a Sound Therapy and Aural Rehabilitation for Tinnitus (START) framework. Our hypotheses were that a CE workshop would (1) be useful, (2) improve clinician's knowledge and willingness to undertake tinnitus practice, and (3) result in learners using knowledge gained in their practice. Methods: Twenty-five participants attending a 3-day tinnitus workshop were invited to complete an evaluation immediately and 3 months after the workshop’s completion. The workshop consisted of seminars and practical sessions. The pedagogical approaches employed were experiential (theory building, reflection, and testing) and community of practice (shared experiences). Results: Participants reported on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = not useful—5 = excellent) a high level of satisfaction both immediately after the workshop (ratings of usefulness: mean, 4.8; SD, 0.4; willingness to practice: 4.6; SD. 0.6; ability to manage: 4.6; SD, 0.5; all “excellent” ratings) and 3 months later (ratings of usefulness: mean, 4.2; SD, 0.9, “very useful;” willingness to practice: 4.6; SD, 0.6, “excellent;” ability to manage: 4.1; SD. 0.5, “very useful”). Open-ended questions indicated participants made changes in their practice that reflected material provided in the CE. Conclusion: The workshop was successful in improving knowledge and confidence of audiologists in undertaking tinnitus assessment and management, but the need for ongoing support and supervision was a common theme.