Tinnitus is defined as auditory perceptions of sound in the absence of external acoustic stimulation. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members experience tinnitus at an elevated prevalence when compared to the general Canadian population (Department of National Defence, 2016). In a study of CAF Army, Navy, and Air Force, of 1057 members surveyed, 52% reported experiencing some tinnitus; 11% reported moderate to much interference in their ability to hear (Abel, 2004). This increased occurrence of tinnitus is possibly attributed to the increased exposure to often unpredictable and repeat high decibel noise during military duties (Humes, Jollenbeck, & Durch, 2006). Tinnitus may be caused, or exacerbated, by mental health conditions, noise-related trauma, stress, and other conditions which are experienced by CAF members at a higher rate than their civilian counterparts (Department of National Defence, 2016). Tinnitus can have a profound effect on a person's functioning, sleep, cognition, and affect. The objective of this research was to determine if a 60 minute psychoeducational CAF occupational therapist led intervention improved CAF member's tinnitus severity, mental health, and dysfunction attributed to tinnitus.
A secondary analysis was conducted of medical records from occupational therapy case files from June, 2016 to July, 2018. 23 CAF members were referred to occupational therapy for tinnitus management strategies and education by a primary care clinician and 6 completed pre and post intervention outcome measures. Outcome measures included the Tinnitus Function Index (TFI, Fackrell, Hill, Berry, & Hoare, 2016), Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (Newman, Jacobson, & Spitzer, 1996), and Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire (Wilson, Henry, Bowen, & Haralambous, 1991). Included participants had endured their tinnitus for longer than 6 months and scored greater than a "moderate" score on the baseline outcome measures. Future research on the effectiveness, frequency, intensity, and length of tinnitus management interventions amongst CAF members with larger sample sizes would be beneficial.