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Evaluation of iPod-Based Automated Tinnitus Pitch Matching
06 August 2020 (online)
Background: Tinnitus is the perception of sound unrelated to any external source. Diagnostic approaches to assess tinnitus characteristics such as tinnitus pitch are crucial for new attempts of tinnitus therapy.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate reliable tinnitus pitch-matching procedures. Existing procedures usually require audiometric equipment and are time consuming. However, some patients with tinnitus find it hard to match their tinnitus in one single session. Therefore, we developed an iPod-based application for self-administered tinnitus pitch matching and compared it with a standardized audiometric procedure.
Study Sample: A total of 17 patients with chronic tonal tinnitus participated in two sessions including both pitch-matching procedures.
Method: In the conventional audiometric test, the investigator adjusted the frequency and loudness of pure tones led by the responses of the patient. For the iPod-based procedure, we used a recursive two-interval forced-choice test that required no interaction with an investigator. Both procedures included loudness matching and testing for octave confusion.
Results: The iPod-based procedure resulted in lower pitch matches as compared with the conventional audiometry. Psychometric qualities such as test-retest reliability of both methods were comparable. Participants rated the iPod-based procedure as easier to perform and more comfortable to use.
Conclusions: In conclusion, we find that the use of self-administered tinnitus pitch-matching procedures on a mobile device is feasible and easier in practice without any loss of reliability and validity. A major advantage is the possibility of repeated measurements without expensive equipment and experienced staff. Repeated measurements of tinnitus pitch can provide more information about the stability of the tinnitus perception and may improve the ability of participants to match their tinnitus.