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Noble WG. Evidence About the Effectiveness of Treatments Related to Tinnitus. 2012.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/11049
Evidence About the Effectiveness of Treatments Related to Tinnitus
In a recent study (Noble, Naylor, Bhullar, & Akeroyd, in press), respondents were asked to answer "yes" or "no" to the question, "Do you have difficulty with your hearing?" They were also asked to rate their ability on six items from the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing scale (SSQ: Gatehouse & Noble, 2004). Two groups from the general population, aged 50 to 80 years, each of about 100 people, were constructed, comprising: (1) Those who said yes they did have hearing difficulty and gave low ratings of their abilities; and (2) those who said no they did not have hearing difficulty and gave high ratings of their abilities. Both of these response patterns were consistent with what would be expected. But it was also possible to construct similarly-sized and otherwise matched groups who gave inconsistent answers, in particular, one group comprising those who said they did have hearing difficulty yet gave high ability ratings. It turned out that the group with self-reported hearing difficulty but high ability ratings had a significantly greater incidence of tinnitus than the group who said they did not have hearing difficulty and also gave high ability ratings. This suggests that the factor of tinnitus can provoke a "yes" response to a general question about "hearing difficulty," even among people who otherwise rate their hearing ability as high. Such an outcome reinforces the point that tinnitus interferes with hearing function, a finding observed by Tyler and Baker (1983), where respondents noted decrements in, for example, speech signal discrimination and spatial localization, as direct effects of tinnitus on hearing. This feature of tinnitus can get overlooked among the more common reports about the sheer persistence and distressfulness of this auditory phenomenon (e.g., McKenna, 2004). It is, nonetheless, the emotional response to tinnitus that seems to have attracted the greater amount of clinical and research attention.