Identifying Tinnitus Subgroups With Cluster Analysis Purpose We believe it is important to uncover tinnitus subgroups to identify subsets of patients most likely to benefit from different treatments. We review strategies for subgrouping based on etiology, subjective reports, the audiogram, psychoacoustics, imaging, and cluster analysis. Method Preliminary results of a 2-step cluster analysis based ... Supplement Article
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Supplement Article  |   December 01, 2008
Identifying Tinnitus Subgroups With Cluster Analysis
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Richard Tyler
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Claudia Coelho
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Pan Tao
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Haihong Ji
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • William Noble
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City, and University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
  • Anne Gehringer
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Stephanie Gogel
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Disclosure Statement
    Disclosure Statement×
    The first author is a consultant for Neuromonics, Inc.
    The first author is a consultant for Neuromonics, Inc.×
  • Contact author: Richard Tyler, The University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: rich-tyler@uiowa.edu.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Supplement: Tinnitus
Supplement Article   |   December 01, 2008
Identifying Tinnitus Subgroups With Cluster Analysis
American Journal of Audiology, December 2008, Vol. 17, S176-S184. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2008/07-0044)
History: Received January 14, 2008 , Accepted April 21, 2008
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2008, Vol. 17, S176-S184. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2008/07-0044)
History: Received January 14, 2008; Accepted April 21, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 43

Purpose We believe it is important to uncover tinnitus subgroups to identify subsets of patients most likely to benefit from different treatments. We review strategies for subgrouping based on etiology, subjective reports, the audiogram, psychoacoustics, imaging, and cluster analysis.

Method Preliminary results of a 2-step cluster analysis based on 246 participants from whom we had 26 categorical and 25 continuous variables were determined.

Results A 4-cluster solution suggested the following subgroups: (a) constant distressing tinnitus, (b) varying tinnitus that is worse in noise, (c) tinnitus patients who are copers and whose tinnitus is not influenced by touch (somatic modulation), and (d) tinnitus patients who are copers but whose tinnitus is worse in quiet environments.

Conclusions Subgroups of tinnitus patients can be identified by using statistical approaches. The subgroups we identify here represent a preliminary attempt at identifying such patients. One next step would be to explore clinical trials of tinnitus treatments based on subgroup analyses or on using subgroups in the selection criteria.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC005972-01A1.
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