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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 100  |  Page : 98--107

The sound-sensitive tinnitus index: Psychometric properties of a scale to assess the impact of tinnitus exacerbated by sound

1 Athens Psychotherapy Center, Athens, GA, USA
2 John F. Kennedy University, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Benjamin S Greenberg
1751 S. Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_29_18

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Context: Although studies of tinnitus exacerbated by sound exposure have indicated increased treatment challenges and intensified mental health and quality of life concerns, there is a lack of valid screening measures to differentiate or assess diagnostic factors and areas of impact unique to this specific symptom manifestation. Aims: The purpose of this study was to design a self-rated measurement tool that can accurately assess the subjective impact of tinnitus negatively modulated by external sound. Settings and Design: Based on review of established models of tinnitus and hyperacusis measurement and a two-part pilot study, the 20-item Sound-Sensitive Tinnitus Index (SSTI) was developed and administered in online survey format to 277 individuals worldwide. Methods and Material: Cronbach’s alpha was used to estimate reliability properties, and dimensional factor analysis was performed. To establish validity, statistical correlations of the SSTI were estimated with valid measures of related constructs including tinnitus, hyperacusis, depression, anxiety, and quality of life. Results: Statistical analysis yielded high levels of internal consistency reliability, and convergent validity was demonstrated through significant correlations with all established measures of related constructs. Initial factor analysis indicated two components split between overall functional impact and coping factors, while rotated factor analyses revealed four distinct scale dimensions, labeled: functional challenges, relational and communication challenges, coping factors, and prevention and hearing protection. Conclusions: As a valid and reliable measure, the SSTI fills an important gap as a clinical and research tool that can differentiate and assess severity and treatment progress in manifestations of combined tinnitus and auditory sensitivity symptoms.


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