Measuring How Bad Tinnitus Is

When research to see who benefits from the therapy, we want to use a scale that have proven to work repeatedly for many others.  We call those scales “standardized.”

Most people are familiar with ratings like the one below, asking how bad it is.  This is good for all sorts of conditions.  It has the strength of being easy to understand, but the weakness of not being at all specific.

So, we move on to 2 others, the THI and THQ.

The THI, the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, is likely the most widely used.  Here is a sample on the American Tinnitus Assoc website.  This is a 25-question scale that gives a total possible 100 points.  It is simple and specific to tinnitus.  Part of the questioning is about how much you suffer or how irritated the tinnitus makes you.  Those answers can depend on MANY factors other than than the loudness of the tinnitus.  So, it is good to combine this questionnaire with a VAS question about how loud it is.  But, either way, reducing the suffering,  irritation, or loudness of tinnitus is a good sign.

Finally, the THQ is the last commonly used scale.  The strength of this one is that it has 3 separate components:

Factor 1 – Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Tinnitus Effects:

Factor 2 – Tinnitus and Hearing:

Factor 3 – Outlook on tinnitus:

For that reason, this is my favorite.  The tricky part is that it requires for calculation — nothing too fancy, but harder for people to get an immediate feedback.

What do you think about these scales?  Which do you think serves you best?