Tool Helps Discriminate Tinnitus From Hearing Loss When patients complain they can’t hear because of the ringing in their ears, is the tinnitus causing the difficulty or could the patient have hearing loss? The answer is critical, as some tinnitus interventions do not address hearing loss. Recent research in the American Journal of Audiology validates a quick, ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   March 01, 2015
Tool Helps Discriminate Tinnitus From Hearing Loss
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Hearing Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   March 01, 2015
Tool Helps Discriminate Tinnitus From Hearing Loss
The ASHA Leader, March 2015, Vol. 20, 15. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.20032015.15
The ASHA Leader, March 2015, Vol. 20, 15. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.20032015.15
When patients complain they can’t hear because of the ringing in their ears, is the tinnitus causing the difficulty or could the patient have hearing loss? The answer is critical, as some tinnitus interventions do not address hearing loss. Recent research in the American Journal of Audiology validates a quick, easy-to-administer screening tool for determining the nature of the patient’s difficulties.
Based on research indicating that many people with bothersome tinnitus often erroneously attribute their hearing difficulties to the tinnitus, James A. Henry and colleagues from the VA Portland Health Care System and the Oregon Health & Science University developed the Tinnitus and Hearing Survey to help differentiate the source of patients’ distress. The THS contains two short lists of items: commonly experienced tinnitus problems that would not be confounded by hearing problems, and commonly experienced hearing problems that would not be confounded by tinnitus.
The researchers have used the THS since 2008 to identify appropriate candidates for participation in tinnitus clinical trials. Clinical interest in the tool beyond that research indicated the need to document its psychometric properties for validation purposes.
The researchers administered the THS to 67 participants and used the results to analyze the consistency, stability and validity of the instrument. The results provide strong preliminary evidence that the THS is a valid and reliable screening tool and helps determine if tinnitus intervention is appropriate.
The researchers stress that the THS is not a substitute for a comprehensive case history, which would be required for any patient who undergoes a formal tinnitus assessment, but is instead a screening tool to help patients and clinicians rapidly understand the nature of problems and determine appropriate courses of action.
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March 2015
Volume 20, Issue 3