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, 11 (3), 138-55

Psychoacoustic Measures of Tinnitus

  • PMID: 10755810

Psychoacoustic Measures of Tinnitus

J A Henry et al. J Am Acad Audiol.


This report reviews research from the 1930s to the present that has extended our understanding by investigating the characteristics of tinnitus that can be studied using psychoacoustic techniques. Studies of tinnitus masking and residual inhibition began in the 1970s, leading to the therapeutic use of tinnitus masking and a consequent increase in research devoted to tinnitus measurement. In 1981, the CIBA Foundation symposium on tinnitus advocated general adoption of four tinnitus measures: (1) pitch, (2) loudness, (3) maskability, and (4) residual inhibition. Since then, psychoacoustic research into all four topics has proliferated, yielding many valuable insights and controversies concerning the details of measurement techniques. A consensus has emerged that neither the loudness nor other psychoacoustic measures of tinnitus bear a consistent relation to the severity or perceived loudness of tinnitus. Nevertheless, quantification is needed in clinical trials of proposed treatments and in a variety of other types of tinnitus research. Standardization of techniques for specifying the acoustic parameters of tinnitus thus continues to be an important research goal.

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