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Tinnitus Screener: Results From the First 100 Participants in an Epidemiology Study.

Henry JA, Griest S, Austin D, Helt W, Gordon J, Thielman E, Theodoroff SM, Lewis MS, Blankenship C, Zaugg TL, Carlson K. Tinnitus Screener: Results From the First 100 Participants in an Epidemiology Study. American Journal of Audiology. 2016 Jun 1; 25(2):153-60.

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PURPOSE: In the Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study, Veterans recently separated from the military undergo comprehensive assessments to initiate long-term monitoring of their auditory function. We developed the Tinnitus Screener, a four-item algorithmic instrument that determines whether tinnitus is present and, if so, whether it is constant or intermittent, or whether only temporary tinnitus has been experienced. Predictive validity data are presented for the first 100 Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study participants. METHOD: The Tinnitus Screener was administered to participants by telephone. In lieu of a gold standard for determining tinnitus presence, the predictive validity of the tinnitus category assigned to participants on the basis of the Screener results was assessed when the participants attended audiologic testing. RESULTS: Of the 100 participants, 67 screened positive for intermittent or constant tinnitus. Three were categorized as "temporary" tinnitus only, and 30 were categorized as "no tinnitus." Tinnitus categorization was predictively valid with 96 of the 100 participants. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide preliminary evidence that the Screener may be suitable for quickly determining essential parameters of reported tinnitus. We have since revised the instrument to differentiate acute from chronic tinnitus and to identify occasional tinnitus. We are also obtaining measures that will enable assessment of its test-retest reliability.

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