Objectives: We investigated the accuracy of a web-based protocol for tinnitus frequency matching compared to that of tinnitus pitch matching performed by an audiologist using an audiometer in an anechoic chamber.
Methods: Twenty subjects underwent tinnitus frequency-matching in a random order using an audiometer in an anechoic chamber and using web-based software with a multiple-choice protocol in octave or half-octave steps from 250 Hz to 12,000 Hz and a slider in 25-Hz steps from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Octave challenge testing was performed. The participants were asked to indicate which protocol resulted in the closest match to their tinnitus frequency.
Results: The median tinnitus frequency was 6,000 Hz (range, 2,000 to 12,000 Hz) with use of the audiometer and self-directed multiple-choice protocol. With the slider, the median frequency was 5,925 Hz (range, 1,850 to 16,000 Hz). The patients with a tinnitus frequency higher than 12,000 Hz experienced a greater level of satisfaction when using the computer-based slider system. Five patients experienced octave confusion with self-directed multiple-choice tinnitus matching that was corrected accurately after the octave challenge step.
Conclusions: A web-based protocol for tinnitus frequency matching is as accurate as a standard audiometric protocol. An octave challenge test might be necessary for patient-directed tinnitus frequency matching.