Comparison of Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and Tinnitus Functional Index as Treatment Outcomes

Audiol Res. 2022 Dec 26;13(1):23-31. doi: 10.3390/audiolres13010003.


Background: Tinnitus is an audiological disorder for which there are no objective measuring tools. Thus, many self-report questionnaires have been proposed to assess its severity. These questionnaires have been judged for their capacity to assess the tinnitus severity at baseline, their sensitivity to treatment-related changes (responsiveness), and their resolution.

Methods: The most widely used questionnaires for clinical and research studies are the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI). While both questionnaires have been recognized as good evaluators of the baseline tinnitus severity, the latter is considered to be more responsive to changes following treatments.

Objectives: The aim of this work is to provide a preliminary comparison of the performance of both questionnaires in the initial and final tinnitus severity assessment of a cohort of patients undergoing a four-month Enriched Acoustic Environment (EAE) therapy.

Results: The EAE therapy provided a 30 and 26 point reduction in THI and TFI, respectively. A good correlation is obtained between the THI and TFI questionnaires at baseline and after the treatment.

Conclusion: At baseline, the THI provided a higher score than the TFI for a higher degree of tinnitus but a lower score for lower tinnitus severity. Both THI and TFI were good questionnaires for baseline assessment and for treatment-related changes. The THI provided a slightly higher score drop than the TFI following the treatment, although the TFI had better resolution.

Keywords: tinnitus; tinnitus functional index; tinnitus handicap inventory.

Grants and funding

M.F. has been funded by the European University of Madrid.