Conclusion: Although tinnitus is a major health problem, techniques to quantify its perceptual aspects are not standardized. This study represents a key step in our efforts to develop clinical methodology to accurately and reliably quantify the sensation of tinnitus, using a uniform method for obtaining a battery of tinnitus measures. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of the automated system, which was redesigned to reduce time of testing and to add new testing capabilities. The primary difference in function was the use of a 'knob' device that enabled patient control of auditory stimuli. The new tests included assessment of minimum masking level (MML) and residual inhibition (RI). Materials and methods: As with previous iterations of the system, a computer program ran all testing and subjects read instructions and provided responses via a computer touch-screen. Three separate studies were conducted. Study 1 evaluated within- and between-session test-retest response reliability of tinnitus loudness matches (LMs) and pitch matches (PMs). Study 2 was conducted to evaluate differences in LMs and PMs between subjects with and without tinnitus - to obtain pilot data to assist in the development of a test for 'tinnitus malingering.' Study 3 evaluated the system's capability of obtaining MMLs and RI as well as the between-session reliability of these measures. Results: Study 1 documented that the new system could obtain LMs and PMs within ∼20 min, while maintaining clinically acceptable reliability. Study 2 revealed characteristic differences in LM and PM test results for individuals who did not experience tinnitus. Study 3 documented the system's ability to obtain measures of MML and RI that were reliable across sessions.
- Hearing disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas