New Objective Assessment Tool to Measure Tinnitus

Canadian researchers are exploring a new objective measure for tinnitus assessment.

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Summary: For tinnitus sufferers, one longstanding difficulty has been to bring some level of objectivity to a buzzing or ringing that they hear subjectively. In other words, tinnitus patients know that they hear a sound and have some understanding of its pitch and volume, but no one else does. Currently, no technology exists to confirm the presence of the sound and reliably estimate its basic characteristics.

This is the task that Menodys, a Canadian medical technologies company, is now undertaking. Recently, Menodys announced that they are entering the clinical validation phase of the Tinnitus Assessment Technology invented by Pr Sylvie Hébert and Philippe Fournier of the School of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Montreal. The technology is based on work by Bisel and colleagues in the journal PloS ONE, who introduce a method that reliably assesses tinnitus pitch and volume, and also differentiates genuine tinnitus sufferers from those feigning. It is important to note, however, that this device will not measure tinnitus via the ear, auditory nerve, or brain; rather, it is designed merely to assist those with tinnitus in accurately identifying the pitch and volume of their tinnitus. Nevertheless, it is one step closer to a bona fide objective assessment.

Key Outcomes/Relevance to tinnitus and hyperacusis: The ability to reliably assess a person’s tinnitus pitch and volume will allow health care professionals to readily track any variations to these characteristics that may result from different treatment options. This could aid in the decision to pursue one management strategy over another, and, if looking across many patients, to further quantify the treatment potential of one strategy over others. 

More information about the Menodys Tinnitus Assessment Technology may be found at http://menodys.com/portfolio-item/tinnititus-assessment-technology/.

Study authors: Basile, CÉ., Fournier, P., Hutchins, S., Hébert, S.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24349414​

ATA Summary completed by Ted Turesky, ATA Board of Directors and Jinsheng Zhang, Ph.D., Chair, ATA Scientific Advisory Committee

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