Which Patients Benefit from Tinnitus Treatment?
Theodoroff et al (2014) report that little is known regarding which patient factors influence tinnitus treatment outcomes. The authors used a retrospective analysis of 89 veterans, for whom they had baseline and repeated measures (12 months later) on the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI). The THI’s 25 questions determine the patient’s self-perceived handicap from 0 (no handicap) to 100 (total handicap). The THI has been validated and has demonstrated high test-retest reliability. Consistent with Newman (1998), who considered a 20-point reduction in the THI to be effective at a 95 percent confidence level, Theodoroff et al differentiated “responders” from non-responders as those who had a 20 point improvement (reduction) on the THI.
Five factors were identified as significantly different between responders and non-responders. Specifically, responders
- were younger,
- had better low-frequency hearing,
- had more overall problems associated with hearing,
- had tinnitus for a lesser period of time, and
- perceived their tinnitus as being “in their head” as opposed to “in their ears.”
Further, two of the (above mentioned) five factors proved to be statistically different (from responders and non-responders), they were localization of tinnitus in their head and self-report of hearing problems. Of note, for patients who perceived their tinnitus “within their head,” they were three times more likely to respond positively to tinnitus therapy, than those who perceived their tinnitus as originating in their ears. Additionally, it appears that only 10 to 15 percent of all tinnitus patients report their tinnitus as being located within their head.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Beck DL, DePlacido C, Paxton C. (2014) Issues in Tinnitus 2014-2015. Hearing Review, October.
Newman C, Sandridge S, Jacobson G. (1998). Psychometric Adequacy of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) for Evaluating Treatment Outcome. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 9:153-160.
Theodoroff SM, Schuette A, Griest S, Henry JA. (2014) Individual Patient Factors Associated With Effective Tinnitus Treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 25:631-643.