Accuracy of Tinnitus Matching Using a Web-Based Protocol
ABSTRACT We investigated the accuracy of a web-based protocol for tinnitus frequency matching compared to that of tinnitus pitch matching performed by an audiologist using an audiometer in an anechoic chamber.
Twenty subjects underwent tinnitus frequency-matching in a random order using an audiometer in an anechoic chamber and using web-based software with a multiple-choice protocol in octave or half-octave steps from 250 Hz to 12,000 Hz and a slider in 25-Hz steps from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Octave challenge testing was performed. The participants were asked to indicate which protocol resulted in the closest match to their tinnitus frequency.
The median tinnitus frequency was 6,000 Hz (range, 2,000 to 12,000 Hz) with use of the audiometer and self-directed multiple-choice protocol. With the slider, the median frequency was 5,925 Hz (range, 1,850 to 16,000 Hz). The patients with a tinnitus frequency higher than 12,000 Hz experienced a greater 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.
A web-based protocol for tinnitus frequency matching is as accurate as a standard audiometric protocol. An octave challenge test might be necessary for patient-directed tinnitus frequency matching.