Accuracy of Tinnitus Frequency Matching Using a Web-Based Protocol

Accuracy of Tinnitus Frequency Matching Using a Web-Based Protocol (Abstract presented at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery meeting, San Francisco, CA, September 2011. Paper accepted at European Archives of Otolaryngology).

Objective: To investigate the accuracy of a web-based protocol for tinnitus frequency matching in comparison to audiometry

Patients:  Subjects who suffered from subjective tinnitus were enrolled.

Intervention(s): Twenty subjects had tinnitus frequency matching in a random order using an audiometer in an anechoic chamber and using a web-based software with a multiple-choice protocol and a slider. Octave challenge testing was performed.

Main Outcome Measure(s): The results of the tinnitus frequency matching between different protocols were compared. Participants were asked to indicate that which protocol resulted in the closest match to their tinnitus frequency.

Results: Median tinnitus frequency was 6000Hz (range, 2000-12000Hz) using the audiometer and self-directed multiple-choice protocol. Using the slider, the median frequency was 5925Hz (range, 1850-16000Hz). The patients with tinnitus frequency of over 12000Hz experienced a higher level of satisfaction when using the computer-based slider system. Five patients experienced octave confusion with self-directed multiple-choice tinnitus matching that was corrected accurately after the octave challenge step.

Conclusions: A web-based protocol for tinnitus frequency matching is as accurate as a standard audiometric protocol. An octave challenge test is necessary for a patient-directed tinnitus frequency matching.