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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Tinnitus assessment by means of standardized self-report questionnaires: Psychometric properties of the Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ), the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), and their short versions in an international and multi-lingual sample

Florian Zeman1*, Michael Koller1, Martin Schecklmann2, Berthold Langguth2, Michael Landgrebe2 and TRI database study group

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Clinical Studies, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, 93042, Germany

2 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2012, 10:128  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-128

Published: 18 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Tinnitus research in an international context requires standardized and validated questionnaires in different languages. The aim of the present set of analyses was the reassessment of basic psychometric properties according to classical test theory of self-report instruments that are being used within the multicentre Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) database project.

Methods

1318 patients of the TRI Database were eligible for the analyses. The basic psychometric properties reliability, validity, and sensitivity of Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ) and Tinnitus Beeinträchtigungs Fragebogen (i.e., Tinnitus Impairment Questionnaire, TBF-12) were assessed by the use of Cronbach’s alpha, corrected item-total correlations, correlation coefficients and standardized response means.

Results

Throughout the languages, all questionnaires showed high internal consistencies (Cronbach’s alpha > 0.79) and solid item-total correlations, as well as high correlations among themselves (around 0.8) and in combination with the self-reported tinnitus severity. However, some paradoxical correlations between individual items of the TBF-12, constructed as a shortform of the THI, and the corresponding THI-items were seen. Standardized Response Means (SRM) were low if tinnitus did not change, and between 0.3 and 1.09 for improved or worsened tinnitus complaints, indicating the sensitivity of the measures.

Conclusions

All investigated instruments have high internal consistency, high convergence and discriminant validity and good change sensitivity in an unselected large multinational clinical sample and thus appear appropriate to evaluate the effects of tinnitus treatments in a cross-cultural context.

Keywords:
Tinnitus; Tinnitus handicap inventory; Tinnitus questionnaire; Tinnitus impairment questionnaire; Psychometric properties