Conclusions: The three tinnitus self-rating scales described herein can be employed as part of "minimal datasets" to reflect the patient's current tinnitus status. These tests are simple and easy to use and can be completed by the patient alone. The results are easy to interpret and provide a good foundation for an effective doctor-patient dialogue.
Objective: To investigate the reliability and validity of three tinnitus self-rating scales: a six-point response scale for tinnitus loudness; an eight-point response scale for tinnitus annoyance; and a six-point response scale for tinnitus change.
Material and methods: The data for 273 patients participating in 2 separate studies were assessed in terms of their validity and reliability. We used criterion validity to determine whether the scales had empirical associations with external criteria, in this case an already firmly established tinnitus questionnaire. In addition we examined construct validity, i.e. its subcategories convergent and discriminant validity, in order to find out how related or unrelated items or scales were. We tested the reliability and repeatability of the scales using patients on our waiting list for tinnitus desensitization.
Results: The test-retest reliability was 0.72 for tinnitus loudness and 0.62 for tinnitus annoyance. Calculations showed that all three scales correlated positively with validated complex scales and thus we considered convergent validity to be adequate.