Volume 50 Number 4, 2013
Pages 573 — 584
Abstract — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) considers tinnitus a disability. Veterans can claim tinnitus as a 'service-connected– disability if the tinnitus is thought to be connected to military service. The VA adjudicates each claim and determines whether reasonable evidence exists to support it. Currently, determining the presence of tinnitus is based on subjective reporting–objective measures do not exist. The aim of this study was to develop and document a test for detecting the presence/absence of tinnitus with high confidence. Using our computer-automated, self-guided tinnitus evaluation system, we conducted three phases of testing to compare psychoacoustic measures of tinnitus between participants with versus without tinnitus. Phase 1 measures included loudness match, pitch match, minimum masking level, residual inhibition, B??k??sy, and forced-choice double staircase. Phases 2 and 3 measures were chosen based on results of the previous phase. The number of tests and time of testing decreased during each successive phase. Differences were seen between groups; most notably, higher low-frequency loudness matches and higher median pitch matches were observed for participants with tinnitus. Results of this study suggest that further efforts can produce a defined psychoacoustic test battery for identifying the presence/absence of tinnitus.
Key words: compensation, hearing disorders, loudness matching, loudness perception, malingering, pitch matching, pitch perception, rehabilitation, reliability of results, tinnitus, tinnitus diagnosis.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Monday, July 29, 2013 10:18 AM