[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, an increasing number of articles have appeared on central auditory processing disorders, but in the literature there is only one study that evaluated the possible correlation between migraine in the critical phase and central auditory processing. The aim of our study was to assess the correlation between auditory processing information and childhood primary headaches in the intercritical phase.
This is an observational study. We enrolled 54 patients, 30 with primary headache (migraine and tension headache) and 24 normal controls, matched for sex and age. The mean age at first observation was 9 years 10 months; the duration of observational follow-up was 2 years. Both groups had normal audiological and neurological profiles, normal peripheral hearing acuity and normal cognitive and behavioral skills. We excluded patients who had undergone pharmacological prophylactic treatment for headaches in the 6 months preceding the study and subjects with a frequency of headache lower than one every two months. After enrolment, both groups were analyzed with a computerized test battery for Speech Perception Tests in silence and in noise background to assess speech perception disabilities. In addition, with a test battery of Speech Perception Tests, we compared patients with migraines and tension-type headaches. The non-parametric chi2 test, the Mann--Whitney U-test and the Wilcoxon signed ranks test were used for statistical analysis. P-values <0.05 were considered significant and STATA 10 software was used for statistical analyses.
Our results showed that patients with primary headache (migraine and tension-type headache), had a deficit of auditory processing in noisy background compared to control cases, but we found no significant differences when we compared patients with migraine and tension-type headache.
This is a work in progress and further studies are needed to assess the relationship between the impairment of auditory processing and primary headache, not only to improve the diagnostic approach to primary headache, but also to improve therapeutic intervention.
The Journal of Headache and Pain 08/2013; 14(1):69. · 2.78 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Comorbidity between vestibular and psychiatric disorders in predisposed individuals is underestimated, untreated, and may result in chronicization and poor quality of life. There are few studies concerning the type and the prevalence of psychiatric-psychosomatic distress in patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate psychiatric-psychosomatic comorbidities, in particular anxiety, depression, somatization symptoms, and alexithymia, in a group of BPPV patients compared with healthy subjects, and according to gender. METHODS: Case-control study comparing 92 BPPV patients recruited at the ENT Unit of Modena General Hospital between November 2007 and December 2010, and 141 healthy controls. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research (DCPR), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) were used to perform psychometric assessment. RESULTS: BPPV patients scored higher than controls, with statistical significance, at BDI, BSI somatization, anxiety, and phobic anxiety subscales, and STAI state anxiety; a larger proportion of BPPV patients suffered from clinically significant BDI depressive symptomatology; DCPR disease phobia, functional somatic symptoms secondary to a psychiatric disorder, and demoralization were more common among BPPV subjects. High levels of symptomatology were still found among BPPV female patients, but not among males, even after controlling for symptom severity. CONCLUSIONS: Affective symptomatology, such as depression, demoralization, phobia and anxiety, and somatization, were significantly prevalent in BPPV patients, and female gender may be a predisposing factor.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Several modalities currently exist to rate the degree of facial function clinically but even though it has significant limitations, the most widely used scale is the House-Brackmann grading system (HBGS). A simplified scale is introduced here, the 'Rough' Grading System (RGS - Grade I: normal movement; Grade II: slight paralysis; Grade III: frank paralysis with eye closure; Grade IV: frank paralysis without eye closure; Grade V: almost complete paralysis with only slight movements; Grade VI: total paralysis). The aim of the present study was to verify the interrater reliability and the interscale validity of this simplified grading system. STUDY DESIGN: Scale validation study based on a prospective cohort. METHODS: Fifty patients with facial palsy, consecutively referred to our department were filmed while performing some codified facial movements. Then two independent groups (one rating using the HBGS, the other rating using the RGS) assigned a grade after reviewing the videos. The time required for the rating was also noted. RESULTS: The HBGS showed a mean value of interrater agreement of 0.46 while the RGS showed a mean value of 0.59. The concurrent validity between HBGS and RGS ranged from 0.86 to 0.90 (p < 0.001 for every comparison). There was no statistically significant difference between HBGS and RGS in the mean time taken for rating (p = 0.15). CONCLUSIONS: The RGS reached an adequate level of interrater reliability, higher than the HBGS. The correlation between the two scales is high and the times required for rating are similar. The present results may justify the use of the RGS in routine clinical practice. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: N/A.
Journal of cranio-maxillo-facial surgery: official publication of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery 01/2013; · 1.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite an abundance of long-term pharmacological treatments for recurrent vertigo attacks due to Ménière's disease, there is no general agreement on the their efficacy. We present the results of a retrospective study based on a 10-year experience with two long-term medical protocols prescribed to patients affected by Ménière's disease (diagnosed according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium guidelines) who completed treatments in the period 1999-2009. A total of 113 medical records were analysed; 53 patients received betahistine-dihydrochloride at on-label dosage (32 mg die) for six months, and 60 patients were treated with the same regimen and nimodipine (40 mg die) as an add-therapy during the same period. Nimodipine, a 1,4-dihydropyridine that selectively blocks L-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels, has previously been tested as a monotherapy for recurrent vertigo of labyrinthine origin in a multinational, double-blind study with positive results. A moderate reduction of the impact of vertigo on quality of life (as assessed by the Dizziness Handicap Inventory) was obtained in patients after therapy with betahistine (p < 0.05), but a more significant effect was achieved in patients treated by combined therapy (p < 0.005). In the latter group, better control of vertigo was seen with a greater reduction of frequency of attacks (p < 0.005). Both protocols resulted in a significant improvement of static postural control, although a larger effect on body sway area in all tests was obtained by the fixed combination of drugs. In contrast, no beneficial effect on either tinnitus annoyance (as assessed by the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory) and hearing loss (pure-tone average at 0.5, 1, 2, 3 kHz frequencies of the affected ear) was recorded in patients treated with betahistine as monotherapy (p > 0.05), whereas the fixed combination of betahistine and nimodipine was associated with a significant reduction of tinnitus annoyance and improvement of hearing loss (p < 0.005). It was concluded that nimodipine represents not only a valid add-therapy for Ménière's disease, and that it may also exert a specific effect on inner ear disorders. Further studies to investigate this possibility are needed.
Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale 12/2012; 32(6):393-403. · 0.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) along the sensory nerves innervating the ear, including the geniculate ganglion, is responsible for herpes zoster oticus (HZO). In some cases, HZO is associated with polyneuropathy of the cranial nerves, although the mechanism of this involvement is not known. To explain this phenomenon and based on some clinical considerations, the present authors hypothesize an intersynaptic spread of VZV along the reflex pathways of the brainstem.
Neuroscience Research 06/2012; 74(1):7-9. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: At the present time, the function of the mastoid remains unknown. One of the main hypotheses accredited in the literature interprets the mastoid as a pressure buffer. Other theories underline the role of the mastoid mucosa in pressure regulation by transmucosal gas exchanges. The question is what advantage does air reabsorption and the creation of a certain degree of negative pressure that mastoid seems to produce, bring to the middle ear and hearing? In the authors' opinion, it is possible that the mastoid, or, in general, every kind of mucosa contained in the middle ear of mammals, would act to create a quite constant, although slight, negative pressure to obtain favorable compliance and impedance conditions in the middle ear to hear and transmit high frequency sounds and ultrasounds. The Eustachian tube, in this perspective, would compensate excessive values of negative pressure. Clearly, that function of mastoid pneumatization in humans would have lost its role, due to the absence of a sensorineural system to analyse ultrasounds.
Medical Hypotheses 03/2012; 78(3):364-6. · 1.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Munchausen's syndrome (MS) is a form of severe, chronic, factitious disorder with physical symptoms. Some essential features define MS, such as recurrent, feigned, or simulated illness; peregrination (traveling or wandering); pseudologia fantastica; and drug abuse. Munchausen's syndrome by proxy (MSBP) classically involves a parent or other caregiver who inflicts injury or induces illness in a child. The aim of the present study was to summarize and study the main ear, nose, and throat (ENT) manifestations of MS and MSBP.
A systematic literature review carried out in a tertiary university referral center.
An appropriate string was run on PubMed to retrieve articles dealing with ENT manifestations of MS and MSBP. A double cross-check was performed on citations and full-text articles found using selected inclusion and exclusion criteria.
In total, 24 articles were finally included in the study, describing 30 cases of MS or MSBP involving the ENT region; 15/30 (50%) cases involved the face, most often presenting as facial pain or facial swelling; and 7/30 (23.3%) cases presented with symptoms involving the ear. Six cases out of 30 (20%) were MSBP.
MS and MSBP may present with symptoms involving the head and neck area, particularly the face and external ear canal. The ENT specialist should suspect MS in patients with strange and long-lasting symptoms, so as to avoid misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatments that waste time and money in the healthcare sector.
The Laryngoscope 11/2011; 122(1):51-7. · 1.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Until recently, tympanic facial nerve surgery had been performed using microscopic approaches, but in recent years, exclusive endoscopic approaches to the middle ear have increasingly been used, particularly in cholesteatoma surgery. The aim of this report was to illustrate the surgical anatomy of the facial nerve during an exclusive endoscopic transcanal approach.
Retrospective video review of cadaveric dissections and operations on living patients in a tertiary university referral center.
Between November 2008 and July 2010, a total of 12 endoscopic cadaveric dissections were performed by an exclusive endoscopic transcanal approach. All dissections were recorded and stored in a database. In July 2010, video recordings from those dissections were reviewed, and the anatomic variations and accessibility of the tympanic facial nerve were studied and noted. Two further video recordings from living patients affected by middle ear chronic disease were also included in our study.
In all 14 subjects, the transcanal endoscopic approach guaranteed direct access to the entire tympanic segment of the facial nerve after ossicular chain removal, allowing decompression of the nerve from the geniculate ganglion and the greater petrosal nerve to the second genu of the facial nerve. As in microscopic techniques, the cochleariform process and transverse crest (cog) may represent useful landmarks.
The tympanic facial nerve can be thoroughly visualized by an exclusive endoscopic transcanal approach, even in poorly accessible regions such as the second genu and geniculate ganglion. Further clinically based reports may strengthen our preliminary results.
The Laryngoscope 07/2011; 121(7):1565-73. · 1.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The indications for tympanoplasty are mainly chronic ear pathologies, such as cholesteatoma, atelectasis and chronic tympanosclerotic otitis. Usually, modification of the mastoid and temporal tissues in general mostly involves bone work, which means bone removal by burs or appropriate bone curettes. It is for this reason that, in both the pre- and postoperative periods, the computed tomography (CT) scan is the primary radiological tool for studying the middle-ear, and temporal bone structures and pathologies. The aim of this review is to illustrate the most up-to-date postoperative results for tympanoplasty, including the emerging endoscopic techniques. The present work focuses on the five types of tympanoplasty that are likely to be encountered by the radiologist: radical surgery; open tympanoplasty; closed tympanoplasty; closed endoscopic tympanoplasty; and open endoscopic tympanoplasty. Understanding and interpreting temporal bone images in relation to the different types of surgery are important, especially at the postoperative stage, because of the high risk of recurrence of middle-ear pathologies, and a good working knowledge of surgical changes is fundamental for distinguishing iatrogenic bone demolition from complications and new pathological foci.
Journal of Neuroradiology 07/2011; 39(3):149-57. · 1.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study is to document and analyze the ossicular chain preservation rate in patients affected by acquired primary cholesteatoma with epitympanic involvement and with preoperative intact ossicular chain.
A retrospective case series in a tertiary university referral center.
From January 2006 to February 2010, at the Otolaryngology Department of the University Hospital of Modena, 68 patients affected by acquired primary cholesteatoma with attic involvement underwent exclusive endoscopic transcanal tympanoplasty. In April 2010, we performed a retrospective chart and video review of these patients. Patients in whom the ossicular chain was found to be intact and not involved by the pathology at the beginning of the operation were included in the study. A cholesteatoma staging was introduced based on tympanic subsite involvement by pathology.
Out of 68 patients affected by acquired primary cholesteatoma and who underwent exclusive endoscopic transcanal tympanoplasty, 23 had intraoperative integrity of the ossicular chain (17 male and 6 female subjects; mean age, 40 yr) and were included in the study. An inverse correlation was found between number of subsites involved and chain preservation (Spearman rank correlation coefficient, r = -1; p = 0.017). Medial attic involvement was the factor that most negatively influenced the likelihood of chain preservation.
Middle ear endoscopic techniques may increase the likelihood of ossicular chain preservation during cholesteatoma surgery. Medial attic involvement and a high number of subsites involved represent the most significant negative factors for chain preservation. The rate of residual disease requires more thorough evaluation in the future to validate the results.
Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology 03/2011; 32(4):626-31. · 1.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the study is to illustrate our experience with horizontal glottectomy (HG), reviewing the indications and results of this uncommon partial laryngectomy.
It is a retrospective study. We completed a chart review of patients who underwent partial laryngectomy between May 2003 and June 2010. Patients who underwent HG were included in the study. Data obtained were collected and analyzed.
Seven male patients were included in the study (mean age was 78 years; range, 69-88 years). In all cases, the TNM classification was pT1bN0M0 apart from one patient who had pT1N1M0. Three patients had a moderately differentiated neoplasm (G2), whereas 4 patients had a well-differentiated tumor (G1). Tracheotomy tube removal, oral feeding, and voice analysis have been evaluated and reported in the study. Mean follow-up was 16 months.
Horizontal glottectomy might be a worthwhile treatment option in selected patients nowadays. In older patients with anterior commissure involvement, this procedure guarantees adequate functional and good oncological results. This study may possibly help surgeons dealing with glottic cancer involving the anterior commissure because we believe that some patients could benefit from HG, even in this radiotherapy and transoral laser surgery "era."
American journal of otolaryngology 02/2011; 32(6):578-82. · 0.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of vestibular rehabilitation in a cohort of elderly labyrinthine-defective patients also affected by a moderate cognitive impairment of vascular origin. A secondary aim was to establish whether additional treatment with a cholinergic precursor (choline alphascerate) might enhance the results of the physical therapy in these patients. A retrospective clinical design was employed and data were collected from the vestibular rehabilitation treatment charts of 42 selected elderly patients who attended the tertiary referral centre of the Audiology and Vestibology of the University Hospital of Modena, Italy, in the period 1998-2008. Two groups of patients, well-matched for sex, age, and as close as possible for the vestibular examination upon admittance, were selected; Group A included 20 patients who had undergone vestibular rehabilitation training for one month and Group B included 22 patients who had attended the same physical therapy sessions as the former and had also received daily medication with 1200 mg of choline alphascerate per os. The outcome measures of the two forms of treatments were obtained from comparisons between posturographic and electronystagmographic examinations at baseline and 3 weeks after the end of treatment. Instrumental findings were completed by recording scores of the Dynamic Gait Index, the Dizziness Handicap Inventory and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale before and after treatment. A statistically significant improvement in postural control (p < 0.05) and gait and balance performances (p < 0.005) was recorded in both groups; a relevant and statistically significant reduction of the asymmetry of the vestibular-ocular reflexes was also observed (p < 0.005). The self-rated dizziness handicap and psychological distress were significantly reduced (p < 0.005). Comparisons between the two groups revealed that patients who had also received medication, had achieved significantly better results than the other patients with respect to postural control in response to optokinetic stimulations (p < 0.05) and to Dynamic Gait Index (p < 0.05), thus suggesting, a reinforcement of cholinergic stimulation on vestibular compensation when tested in clinical conditions that require complex perceptual-motor skills and make a significant demand upon cognitive spatial processing resources. Further applications of stimulation of the cholinergic neurotransmission are discussed with particular regard to vestibular compensation in patients with no cognitive impairment or recurrent vertigo attacks of labyrinthine origin.
Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale 02/2010; 30(1):11-9. · 0.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the validity of the Italian translation of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) by Newman et al. in order to make this self-report measure of perceived tinnitus handicap available both for clinical and research purposes in our country and to contribute to its cross-cultural validation as a self-report measure of perceived severity of tinnitus. The Italian translation of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) was administered to 100 outpatients suffering from chronic tinnitus, aged between 20 and 82 years, who attended the audiological tertiary centres of the University Hospital of Modena and the Regional Hospital of Treviso. No segregation of cases was made on audiometric results; patients suffering from vertigo and neurological diseases were excluded. Pyschoacoustic characteristics of tinnitus (loudness and pitch) were determined and all patients also completed the MOS 36-Item Short Form Health Survey to assess self-perceived quality of life and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale as a measure of self-perceived levels of anxiety and depression. The THI-I showed a robust internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.91) that was only slightly lower than the original version (Tinnitus Handicap Inventory-US; Cronbach's alpha = 0.93) and its Danish (Cronbach's alpha = 0.93) and Portuguese (Cronbach's alpha = 0.94) translations. Also its two subscales (Functional and Emotional) showed a good internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.85 and 0.86, respectively). On the other hand, the Catastrophic subscale showed an unacceptable internal consistency reliability as it is too short in length (5 items). A confirmatory factor analysis failed to demonstrate that the 3 subscales of the THI-I correspond to 3 different factors. Close correlations were found between the total score of the Italian translation of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory and all the subscales of the MOS 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores indicating a good construct validity. Moreover, these statistically significant correlations (p < 0.005) confirmed that the self-report tinnitus handicap is largely related to psychological distress and a deterioration in the quality of life. On the other hand, it was confirmed that the tinnitus perceived handicap is totally independent (p > 0.05) from its audiometrically-derived measures of loudness and pitch thus supporting previous studies that focused on the importance of non-auditory factors, namely somatic attention, psychological distress and coping strategies, in the generation of tinnitus annoyance. Finally the results of the present study suggest that the THI-I maintains its original validity and should be incorporated, together with other adequate psychometric questionnaires, in the audiological examination of patients suffering from tinnitus and that psychiatric counselling should be recommended for the suspected co-morbidity between tinnitus annoyance and psychological distress.
Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale 06/2008; 28(3):126-34. · 0.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, an assessment was made of the global assumption that working adults with a mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss experience more negative emotional reactions and socio-situational limitations than subjects with no hearing problems and that a deterioration of health-related quality of life on these specific domains would occur. Comparisons between 73 hearing-impaired subjects and 96 controls, well-matched for socio-demographic variables, were performed using the HHIA, MOS 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and SFQ questionnaires scores and revealed that the former experience a higher level of perceived hearing handicap and a deterioration of health-related quality of life while investigating emotional and socio-situational domains than the latter (p < 0.005). While investigating the psychological distress dimension of the hearing-impaired subjects by means of the Symptom Check List (SCL-90-R), it emerged that they are more prone to depression, anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, and hostility than subjects with no hearing problems (p < 0.05). It is argued that the sensory impairment, with its associated disability, may discourage hearing-impaired individuals from exposing themselves to socially challenging situations, producing isolation that leads to depression, irritability, feelings of inferiority. The same psychological symptoms, on the other hand, can compound and worsen the picture by influencing social behaviour of the affected persons. Further prospective studies are needed to address this issue. Nevertheless, it is concluded that Audiology Services, despite the time and costs involved, should improve their diagnostic ability by exploring more areas of hearing-impaired subjects concerns in order not to overlook their potentially reduced psychosocial well-being.
Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale 04/2008; 28(2):61-6. · 0.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Few studies have focused on the role of the vestibular system for navigation and spatial memory functions in humans, with controversial results. Since most experimental settings were based on magnetic resonance imaging volumetry of the hippocampus and virtual navigation task on a PC, aim of this study was to investigate whether a well-compensated unilateral peripheral vestibular hypofunction in humans could interfere with navigation tasks while walking on memorized routes. A series of 50 unilateral labyrinthine-defective patients, without vertigo at the time of examination, and 50 controls were invited to visually memorize 3 different routes (a triangle, a circle and a square) on a grey carpet and then to walk along them clockwise and counter-clockwise (mental map navigation) with eyes closed. The same test was then repeated with eyes open (actual navigation) and a second time with eyes closed (mental navigation). Execution time was recorded in each test. In the same session, working spatial memory was assessed by the Corsi block test and all subjects completed the Symptom Check List (SCL-90) to assess depression and anxiety levels. Results showed that labyrinthine-defective patients presented higher levels of anxiety and depression and performed the Corsi block test with more difficulties than controls. All differences reached statistically significant level (p < 0.05). Moreover, patients needed more time than controls in the first and third navigation tasks (eyes closed). No difference was observed between clockwise and counter-clockwise walking, on all routes, either in patients or controls. Patients showed a greater improvement in the third navigation task, with respect to the first test, than controls, with no side-effect in relation to labyrinthine hypofunction. These data demonstrate that walking along memorized routes without vision is impaired by peripheral vestibular damage even if vestibular compensation prevents patients from suffering from vertigo and balance disturbances. This impairment could be due to a permanent deficit of visuo-spatial short-term memory as suggested by the Corsi block test results even if a residual sensori-motor impairment and/or an interference of psychological distress could not be excluded.
Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale 03/2008; 28(1):21-5. · 0.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate if a well-compensated unilateral peripheral vestibular hypofunction could interfere with navigation tasks on memorized routes in humans.
After a complete otoneurological investigation, fifty labyrinthine-defective patients and fifty controls were invited to visually memorize three different routes (a triangle, a circle and a square) on a grey carpet and then to walk along them with eye closed clockwise and counter-clockwise (mental map navigation). The same test was then repeated with eye open (actual navigation) and again with eye closed (mental navigation). Execution time was recorded in each test. Corsi block test and a psychiatric questionnaire completed the neuropsychological examination.
Labyrinthine-defective patients showed higher levels of anxiety and depression and performed Corsi block test with more difficulties than controls. Patients spent more time than controls in the first and third session (eye closed). No difference was recorded between clockwise and counter-clockwise navigation tasks both in patients and in controls. Patients showed a greater improvement in the third navigation task than controls.
Walking on memorized routes in non-visual condition is impaired by a peripheral vestibular damage, even if patients are well compensated. This impairment could be due to a defect of the visuospatial short-term memory, as supported by Corsi block tests, but a residual sensorimotor impairment and/or an interference of psychological distress could not be definitively excluded.
Annales d Otolaryngologie et de Chirurgie Cervico-Faciale 10/2007; 124(4):197-201.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite increasing demand for questionnaires for assessing hearing handicap and the effectiveness of some tools across different languages, empirical studies to evaluate the reliability and the validity of translations of original English questionnaires into an Italian version have not been reported in the literature, thus making comparisons of Italian experimental and clinical data across cultures and countries impossible. This study tested the global assumption that the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA), that is one of the most widely used instruments in English-speaking countries, can be adapted to the Italian language maintaining the reliability and clinical validity of the original version. The English version of this 25-item, self-assessment questionnaire was developed by Newman et al. in 1990 and special emphasis was placed on emotional reaction and social limitations perceived by hearing-impaired subjects and scored separately. This tool was translated into the Italian language by a forward and backward technique, as established by the IQOLA (International Quality of Life Assessment) project. Overall, 94 subjects, aged 18-65 years, with acquired hearing impairment and 104 individuals with no hearing problems, well-matched for socio-demographic variables, were enrolled in the study in a case-control design. Reliability of the Italian version of HHIA was tested by measuring internal consistency and test-retest reproducibility. Validity was assessed by using construct, convergent and discriminant methods. A Cronbach's alpha coefficient near 0.90 confirmed a more than acceptable internal consistency and a highly statistically significant Spearman's correlation coefficient (< 0.005) between scores of the two administrations at an interval of one month documented an excellent stability of the questionnaire over time. Construct validity was demonstrated by a correlation between the severity of hearing loss and the score of questionnaire (< 0.005) and convergent validity was supported by a significant correlation between the scores of the emotional and socio/situational subscales of the HHIA to the analogous subscales of a health-related quality of life questionnaire (MOS 36-Item Short Form Health Survey) (< 0.005). Finally, since hearing-impaired subjects scored significantly higher than controls on HHIA (< 0.005), it clearly emerged that also the Italian version of HHIA differentiates the two populations (those with and those without hearing problems) demonstrating a robust discriminant validity. Given the lack of appropriate measures to assess hearing handicap in Italy, the results achieved in this study, confirm that the HHIA, Italian version, is suitable for both experimental and clinical use.
Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale 08/2007; 27(4):186-91. · 0.79 Impact Factor