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Hearing Journal:
doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000390812.05050.fe
Departments: From the Editor

Tinnitus, tradition, and 20 years at HJ

Kirkwood, David H.

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Editor-in-Chief

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One of The Hearing Journal traditions that I am most proud of is the guest-edited Special Issue that we publish each November. For a quarter century, these publications have provided readers with timely, authoritative, and comprehensive information on a wide range of subjects important to your work.

While I take much pride in these special issues, most of the credit for them belongs to the series of distinguished guest editors who have said yes when I asked them to take on this heavy responsibility. The excellence of these publications is a tribute to the editors' knowledge and commitment, as well as their ability to recruit top-notch contributors.

To demonstrate the quality of these special issues, let me list just the most recent ones, starting with Gus Mueller's 2006 edition devoted to open-canal fittings. That was followed by Arthur Boothroyd's issue on the advent of wireless technology in hearing care, one edited by Jerry Northern on pediatric amplification, and the 2009 issue on treating hearing loss in patents with cognitive disorders, which Kathy Pichora-Fuller so ably put together.

This November, we are delighted to present an issue edited by Robert W. Sweetow on new approaches to the management of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a problem that every hearing care provider encounters. Often, the torment of tinnitus is worse than the hearing loss that typically accompanies it. Therefore, I am sure that readers will want to learn more about some of the diverse new treatments being developed and to make their own evaluation of the rationales and data that advocates for these treatments present in this issue.

As a respected authority on tinnitus with 30 years' experience in treating the condition, Dr. Sweetow was a perfect choice as guest editor. You will find much of value in this issue, but let me draw your attention to a basic message that applies to every practitioner. While there is no single “cure” for tinnitus, much can be done to ease the suffering it causes. So, please remember, as Robert Sweetow writes, “It is unethical and immoral to tell a tinnitus sufferer, ‘There is nothing that can be done for you.’”

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SPEAKING OF TRADITION

In reviewing past special issues, I ran across an announcement in the November 1990 HJ about the newly named editor. Hard as it is for me to believe, this issue marks the completion of my 20th year as editor-in-chief of this publication.

When I accepted the position, I never imagined that I would be here 20 years later. While the position was appealing, I remember asking myself, how interesting could hearing aids and helping deaf people really be? And how long would it be fulfilling to devote myself to these topics?

I must confess that these questions were rooted in total ignorance. I had never met anyone who worked in the hearing care profession. I scarcely knew anyone who wore hearing aids! But I soon learned that covering hearing care is extremely fulfilling. The ability to communicate is one of the greatest blessings a human being can have. And, playing a role—even an indirect one as an editor—in improving hearing-impaired people's power to communicate is a wonderful way to make a living.

I was also fortunate to enter the hearing industry at a time when unprecedented advances were on the horizon. In 1990, there was much talk about the potential of digital signal processing (DSP), but I think few people realized how great its impact would be. Unless you've been in this field for quite a while, you may not fully appreciate how much the hearing aids you fit today can do that was impossible in 1990 or even 2000. Thanks to DSP, increased customization of fittings, effective directional microphones, open-canal fittings, feedback cancellation, noise reduction—all in ever-tinier devices—became realities on my watch. Those are exciting changes!

But in looking back at my first 20 years here, I realize that the best part of my job has been getting to know you, our readers. While I haven't met or heard directly from all of you, I know from the thousands of you that I have met at conferences or become acquainted with by phone or e-mail, what a warm-hearted, caring type of person is drawn to hearing healthcare. It is a pleasure and an honor to be able to contribute to your life-enhancing profession.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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