Measuring Tinnitus Loudness Using Constrained Psychophysical Scaling Purpose We measured tinnitus loudness using a new method of psychophysical scaling with the aim of introducing a potentially useful new procedure to the literature. Method Fourteen adults reporting tinnitus were trained to use a standardized loudness scale, and then they used that response scale to assess loudness ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2009
Measuring Tinnitus Loudness Using Constrained Psychophysical Scaling
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lawrence M. Ward
    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Michael Baumann
    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Contact author: Lawrence M. Ward, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada. E-mail: lward@psych.ubc.ca.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Research and Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2009
Measuring Tinnitus Loudness Using Constrained Psychophysical Scaling
American Journal of Audiology, December 2009, Vol. 18, 119-128. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2009/07-0033)
History: Received August 14, 2007 , Revised November 3, 2008 , Accepted May 26, 2009
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2009, Vol. 18, 119-128. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2009/07-0033)
History: Received August 14, 2007; Revised November 3, 2008; Accepted May 26, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

Purpose We measured tinnitus loudness using a new method of psychophysical scaling with the aim of introducing a potentially useful new procedure to the literature.

Method Fourteen adults reporting tinnitus were trained to use a standardized loudness scale, and then they used that response scale to assess loudness of nonstandard stimuli and of their tinnitus. We also measured tinnitus loudness and pitch using a computer-based matching procedure, and we measured the impact of tinnitus on daily living using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI; C. W. Newman, G. P. Jacobson, & J. B. Spitzer, 1996) for those 14 individuals and an additional 2 participants.

Results and Conclusions Our 14 trained participants judged loudness similarly to normal hearing participants for pure tones at normal hearing, nontinnitus frequencies—implying that their judgments of tinnitus loudness were valid. Constrained scaling of tinnitus loudness yielded measurements that were substantially greater than the sensation level of sounds matched to tinnitus loudness. Our total of 16 participants fell into 2 groups on the basis of hearing loss, extent of abnormal loudness growth at the tinnitus frequency, and several aspects of tinnitus experience. Finally, as previously found, there was little correlation between tinnitus loudness, no matter how measured, and the impact of tinnitus on daily life as measured by the THI.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research–New Emerging Teams (CIHR-NET). We thank our hard-working tinnitus subjects for their participation, Larry Roberts for useful comments on the article, and the entire NET-Tinnitus group for useful discussion.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire American Journal of Audiology content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access