Attributes of tinnitus and the acceptance of masking

Jack Vernon, Susan Griest, Linda Press

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Various characteristics of tinnitus were surveyed to determine whether they were associated with the acceptance of masking, which is used as a relief procedure for tinnitus. The characteristics considered were duration, loudness match, minimum masking level, and residual inhibition. Data for the characteristics of tinnitus were obtained from the Tinnitus Data Registry at the Oregon Hearing Research Center, which contains information on 784 tinnitus patients. The acceptance of masking was determined by each individual patient based on actual tests with wearable masking units. Variations in the individual characteristics listed above were not found to be significantly associated with the acceptance of masking and thus should not be used a priori to deny patients the opportunity for possible relief of their tinnitus. A masking indicator was found to be significantly (P = .03) associated with the acceptance of masking. This masking indicator is obtained by subtracting the loudness match of the tinnitus from the minimum masking level. When the masking indicator was 10 dB or less, the acceptance of masking was in excess of 50%. The data presented may help to dispel some current misconceptions about the masking of tinnitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990


  • complete residual inhibition
  • loudness match of tinnitus
  • masking indicator
  • minimum masking level
  • partial residual inhibition
  • residual inhibition
  • tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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