Objective: To develop a self-report tinnitus handicap measure that is brief, easy to administer and interpret, broad in scope, and psychometrically robust.
Design: A standardization study of a self-report tinnitus handicap measure was conducted to determine its internal consistency reliability and convergent and construct validity.
Setting: Audiology clinics in tertiary care centers in two sites.
Participants: In the first investigation, 84 patients reporting tinnitus as their primary complaint or secondary to hearing loss completed the 45-item alpha version of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI). In the second investigation, 66 subjects also reporting tinnitus completed the 25-item beta version.
Outcome measures: Convergent validity was assessed using another measure of perceived tinnitus handicap (Tinnitus Handicap Questionnaire). Construct validity was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory, Modified Somatic Perception Questionnaire, symptom rating scales (annoyance, sleep disruption, depression, and concentration), and perceived tinnitus pitch and loudness judgments.
Results: From the alpha version of the THI, we derived a 25-item beta version with the items grouped into functional, emotional, and catastrophic subscales. The total scale yielded excellent internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = .93). No significant age or gender effects were seen. Weak correlations were observed between the THI and the Beck Depression Inventory, Modified Somatic Perception Questionnaire, and pitch and loudness judgments. Significant correlations were found between the THI and the symptom rating scales.
Conclusion: The THI is a self-report measure that can be used in a busy clinical practice to quantify the impact of tinnitus on daily living.