Background: The heterogeneity of tinnitus is substantial. Its numerous pathophysiological mechanisms and clinical manifestations have hampered fundamental and treatment research significantly. A decade ago, the Tinnitus Research Initiative introduced the Tinnitus Sample Case History Questionnaire, a case history instrument for standardised collection of information about the characteristics of the tinnitus patient. Since then, a number of studies have been published which characterise individuals and groups using data collected with this questionnaire. However, its use has been restricted to a clinical setting and to the evaluation of people with tinnitus only. In addition, it is limited in the ability to capture relevant comorbidities and evaluate their temporal relationship with tinnitus.
Method: Here we present a new case history instrument which is comprehensive in scope and can be answered by people with and without tinnitus alike. This 'European School for Interdisciplinary Tinnitus Research Screening Questionnaire' (ESIT-SQ) was developed with specific attention to questions about potential risk factors for tinnitus (including demographics, lifestyle, general medical and otological histories), and tinnitus characteristics (including perceptual characteristics, modulating factors, and associations with co-existing conditions). It was first developed in English, then translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Swedish, thus having broad applicability and supporting international collaboration.
Conclusions: With respect to better understanding tinnitus profiles, we anticipate the ESIT-SQ to be a starting point for comprehensive multi-variate analyses of tinnitus. Data collected with the ESIT-SQ can allow establishment of patterns that distinguish tinnitus from non-tinnitus, and definition of common sets of tinnitus characteristics which might be indicated by the presence of otological or comorbid systemic diseases for which tinnitus is a known symptom.
Keywords: Classification; Data collection; Heterogeneity; Self report; Translations.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.