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Int J Behav Med. 1999;6(4):312-30.

Assessing audiological, pathophysiological, and psychological variables in chronic tinnitus: a study of reliability and search for prognostic factors.

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Roseneck Center for Behavioral Medicine, Prien, Germany.


The development and course of chronic tinnitus are determined by both biological and psychological factors. To combine these different sources of data, we developed a standardized interview to assess tinnitus history, summarize audiological findings, screen for etiological conditions, and explore tinnitus-related psychological complaints (Structured Tinnitus Interview). The results of a test-retest study with 65 tinnitus inpatients show that most of these components can be assessed with acceptable or high reliability. Further data based on 166 patients demonstrate that tinnitus annoyance was to some extent different from patterns of general psychological complaints, although there were medium intercorrelations with depression. Significant predictors of tinnitus annoyance were (a) continuous tinnitus without intervals, (b) hearing loss, (c) increasing tinnitus loudness over time, (d) poor maskability, (e) history of sudden hearing loss, and (f) associated craniomandibular disorder. Psychological distress was not significantly increased in patients whose tinnitus was associated to vascular disorder, cervical spine dysfunction, acoustic trauma, Menihre's disease, or neurological disorder.

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