Tinnitus Screener: Results From the First 100 Participants in an Epidemiology Study Purpose In the Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study, Veterans recently separated from the military undergo comprehensive assessments to initiate long-term monitoring of their auditory function. We developed the Tinnitus Screener, a four-item algorithmic instrument that determines whether tinnitus is present and, if so, whether it is constant or intermittent, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2016
Tinnitus Screener: Results From the First 100 Participants in an Epidemiology Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James A. Henry
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • Susan Griest
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • Don Austin
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • Wendy Helt
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
  • Jane Gordon
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
  • Emily Thielman
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
  • Sarah M. Theodoroff
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • M. Samantha Lewis
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • Cody Blankenship
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
  • Tara L. Zaugg
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
  • Kathleen Carlson
    Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
    Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, OR
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to James A. Henry: james.henry@va.gov
  • Editor: Sumitrajit Dhar
    Editor: Sumitrajit Dhar×
  • Associate Editor: Lauren Calandruccio
    Associate Editor: Lauren Calandruccio×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2016
Tinnitus Screener: Results From the First 100 Participants in an Epidemiology Study
American Journal of Audiology, June 2016, Vol. 25, 153-160. doi:10.1044/2016_AJA-15-0076
History: Received November 30, 2015 , Revised January 11, 2016 , Accepted February 8, 2016
 
American Journal of Audiology, June 2016, Vol. 25, 153-160. doi:10.1044/2016_AJA-15-0076
History: Received November 30, 2015; Revised January 11, 2016; Accepted February 8, 2016

Purpose In the Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study, Veterans recently separated from the military undergo comprehensive assessments to initiate long-term monitoring of their auditory function. We developed the Tinnitus Screener, a four-item algorithmic instrument that determines whether tinnitus is present and, if so, whether it is constant or intermittent, or whether only temporary tinnitus has been experienced. Predictive validity data are presented for the first 100 Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study participants.

Method The Tinnitus Screener was administered to participants by telephone. In lieu of a gold standard for determining tinnitus presence, the predictive validity of the tinnitus category assigned to participants on the basis of the Screener results was assessed when the participants attended audiologic testing.

Results Of the 100 participants, 67 screened positive for intermittent or constant tinnitus. Three were categorized as “temporary” tinnitus only, and 30 were categorized as “no tinnitus.” Tinnitus categorization was predictively valid with 96 of the 100 participants.

Conclusions These results provide preliminary evidence that the Screener may be suitable for quickly determining essential parameters of reported tinnitus. We have since revised the instrument to differentiate acute from chronic tinnitus and to identify occasional tinnitus. We are also obtaining measures that will enable assessment of its test-retest reliability.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program Investigator-Initiated Research Award PR121146 from the U.S. Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, Ft. Detrick, MD, and the Research Career Scientist Award C9247S from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Washington, D.C., both awarded to J. Henry. This material is the result of work supported with resources and use of facilities at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation Research & Development, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (Center Award C9230C) at the VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, OR, awarded to M. P. Feeney. The contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, or U.S. government.
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