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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D
Volume 41 Number 6A, November/December 2004
Pages 871 — 888

Computer-automated tinnitus assessment using patient control
of stimulus parameters

James A. Henry, PhD; Betsy Rheinsburg, MS; Roger M. Ellingson, MSCSE

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development (RR&D) National Center
for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, VA Medical Center, Portland, OR; Department of Otolaryngology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
Abstract-A need exists for a standardized tinnitus evaluation tool to measure "acoustic" parameters of tinnitus. An automated tinnitus evaluation system has been developed in this laboratory, consisting of a patient-controlled touch-screen computer monitor, main computer, and Programmable Auditory Laboratory 3000 (PAL 3000) (a custom-built signal conditioning module). The system obtains and records data from tinnitus patients, including hearing thresholds and the pitch and loudness of their tinnitus. New features have been incorporated into the system to make it more user-friendly and practical for clinical application. Using the system, we evaluated 40 individuals with tinnitus to assess within- and between-session reliability of responses. Response reliability has been documented with previous versions of the system. Incorporating the new features has reduced testing time to an average of less than 19 minutes and has resulted in comparable loudness-match reliability and improved pitch-match reliability compared with the previous results. These data support the technique as suitable for clinical application, indicating the need to develop instrumentation for this purpose.

Key words: audiology, automated testing, hearing disorders, hearing thresholds, loudness perception, pitch perception, reliability of results, tinnitus.

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