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Release: Aug. 20, 2002

UI to host 10th annual tinnitus conference

The University of Iowa will host its 10th Annual Conference on Management of the Tinnitus Patient Sept. 26-28 in Iowa City. The conference is open to physicians, audiologists, psychologists and nurses who want to learn more about evaluating and managing tinnitus.

Physicians and audiologists will be eligible to earn continuing education credits. People with tinnitus may also enroll; however, the conference does not include individualized diagnosis or treatment. Early registration ends Aug. 31.

Tinnitus -- ringing or buzzing in the ears -- is a relatively common condition, affecting millions of Americans. The most common cause of tinnitus is noise exposure, but medications, head injuries and the normal aging process also can cause the condition. Tinnitus can range in severity from annoying to debilitating and has no known cure.

"Ten years ago, when we started this conference, most professionals had very little experience and training in how to help people with tinnitus," said Richard Tyler, Ph.D., UI professor of otolaryngology -- head and neck surgery, speech pathology and audiology, and conference organizer. "I hope that we have provided a knowledge base to allow many clinicians to better serve their patients."

The program begins with a welcome gathering Thursday evening, Sept. 26, with programs offered Sept. 27-28. Scheduled lecture topics include experimental trials to reduce tinnitus with electrical stimulation, psychological treatments of tinnitus, hearing aids and the use of sound for masking and for distraction, and electrical stimulation of tinnitus. In addition, the conference will offer practicums on tinnitus measurement, integrating tinnitus management into the clinical setting, and counseling and patient education.

Several years ago, the conference was expanded to include tinnitus patients as well as the health care professionals who treat these individuals.

"The conference is unique in that sense," Tyler said. "We ask the patients to participate and explain how they perceive their tinnitus and what they do to make it better. I think that our approach is to the benefit of both the professionals and the tinnitus patients."

The guest of honor at this year's conference is Richard Salvi, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of New York at Buffalo. Using brain-imaging techniques, Salvi's research explores how brain activity responds to sound and which brain regions are active when tinnitus occurs. In particular, by working with patients who can alter the severity of their tinnitus symptoms by changing head position or through movement, Salvi is able to study brain activity in response to different tinnitus conditions.

Several international tinnitus experts will participate in the conference: Rene Dauman, M.D., a neurotologist at Hospital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France; Bill Nobel, Ph.D., professor of psychology at University of New England in Australia; and Anne-Mette Mohr a psychologist from Copenhagen, Denmark. UI faculty from the departments of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, speech pathology and audiology, family medicine, and psychiatry will discuss the latest developments in tinnitus management and research.

The conference is sponsored by the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the UI, the UI Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the UI Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, and the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the conference and registration, contact Linda Ford, conference secretary at (319) 384-9757, or Kelly Flinn at (319) 335-4105, or visit

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