Tinnitus evaluation: relationship between pitch matching and loudness, visual analog scale and tinnitus handicap inventory

Abstract Introduction: Tinnitus is a subjective auditory symptom usually associated with a sound, even in the absence of external sound sources. Its diagnosis is complex, and some of the forms of measurement alone or in combination, include self-assessment questionnaires, such as the tinnitus handicap inventory, the visual analog scale and/or pitch and loudness matching. Objective: To analyze the correlation among three tinnitus measurement methods: tinnitus handicap inventory, visual analog scale and pitch and loudness matching. Methods: The study consisted of 148 patients complaining of chronic tinnitus. An otorhinolaryngological evaluation, anamnesis directed to tinnitus, audiometry (pure tone and speech), imitanciometry, tinnitus handicap inventory, visual analog scale, and pitch and loudness matching were performed. The study was registered in the Ethics Committee of the Institution with no. 0129/12. Results: Regarding the frequency of tinnitus handicap inventory responses, a higher occurrence of the mild degree was observed. An average of 6 points was observed on the visual analog scale. The mean loudness matching in the right ear was 20 dBNS, and in the left ear was 17 dBNS. As for the type of stimulus, the most found was continuous pure tone. The frequency of the pitch sensation was 6000 Hz in the largest number of cases. Regarding the measures of tinnitus handicap inventory and the visual analogical scale, a significant correlation was observed, and as one value increases the other also increases. Pitch and loudness matching and the visual analogical scale results are also significant. Conclusion: There was a significant correlation between the values measured by the tinnitus handicap inventory, visual analogical scale (annoyance) and loudness matching in the evaluation of tinnitus. The selection of any one of the three evaluative methods for tinnitus investigation provides different dimensions of the tinnitus and complements the others.