The Psychometric Properties of a Tinnitus Handicap Questionnaire

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The psychometric properties of a tinnitus handicap questionnaire are reported. There were two phases in this study. In Phase I, 87 questions were administered to 100 tinnitus patients. From their responses, 59 items that were either redundant, insensitive, or had low item-total correlations were eliminated. In Phase II, the resulting 27-item questionnaire was administered to 319 patients. Fifty-three of these patients also completed psychological and psychophysical measures that were used to validate the questionnaire. A factor analysis of patients' responses revealed a three-factor structure. These three factors appeared to reflect the physical, emotional, and social consequences of tinnitus (Factor I), hearing ability of the patient (Factor 2), and the patients' view of tinnitus (Factor 3). Although the 27-item questionnaire had high internal consistency reliability and validity as reflected by correlations with life satisfaction and depression scales, it is recommended that only the items on the Factor 1 and the Factor 2 subscales be scored because of the low internal consistency reliability of the Factor 3 subscale. This questionnaire can be used to compare a patient's tinnitus handicap with the norm, identify specific areas of handicaps, and to monitor a patient's progress with particular treatment programs.

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