Psychometric evaluation of visual analog scale for the assessment of chronic tinnitus

Am J Audiol. 2012 Dec;21(2):215-25. doi: 10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0010). Epub 2012 Jul 30.


Purpose: The development of therapeutic interventions for chronic tinnitus requires sensitive and clinically responsive tools to measure treatment-induced changes in tinnitus loudness and annoyance. In this study, the authors evaluated the psychometric properties of patient-reported visual analog scales (VAS) for measuring subjectively perceived tinnitus loudness and annoyance.

Method: The authors analyzed data from a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of acoustic coordinated reset (CR) neuromodulation in patients with chronic tinnitus (trial registration: "Randomized Evaluation of Sound Evoked Treatment of Tinnitus [RESET] study"; identifier: NCT00927121) to assess the reliability, validity, and minimally clinically identifiable difference (MCID) of the VAS loudness and VAS annoyance. The VAS loudness and VAS annoyance were completed at screening, at baseline, and at 5 visits during the 16 weeks of the clinical study. Data were analyzed with respect to test-retest reliability, validity, and MCID.

Results: VAS loudness and VAS annoyance showed good test-retest reliability of .8 and .79, respectively. In terms of convergent validity, VAS loudness and VAS annoyance correlated well with the tinnitus questionnaire at all clinical visits (max r = .67, p < .05). MCID estimates clustered between 10 and 15 points.

Conclusion: VAS loudness and VAS annoyance are valid and effective measurements for capturing reductions in tinnitus severity in patients with chronic tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis*
  • Tinnitus / therapy

Associated data