Hearing Aid Use by Unilaterally Impaired Individuals: Outcome of the Tinnitus Handicap InventoryCharles E. Bishop1*, Alex Ashford1, Jason Galster2 and Ian Windmill1
- Corresponding Author:
- Charles E. Bishop, Au.D.
University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: October 01, 2012; Accepted date: November 15, 2012; Published date: November 22, 2012
Citation: Bishop CE, Ashford A, Galster J, Windmill I (2012) Hearing Aid Use by Unilaterally Impaired Individuals: Outcome of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory. otolaryngology S3:004. doi:10.4172/2161-119X.S3-004
Copyright: © 2012 Bishop CE, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Tinnitus is a problem commonly associated with unilateral sensor neural hearing impairments; however, little has been published on the most efficacious approach to treating tinnitus in this population. Previous studies have shown that hearing aids are beneficial in treating tinnitus in individuals with hearing loss, but this has not been thoroughly assessed in individuals with strictly unilateral sensor neural impairments. This is a pertinent area of investigation as conditions that commonly result in unilateral sensor neural hearing loss may lead to different outcomes. Between September 2011 and August 2012, 16 individuals with unilateral sensor neural hearing loss and tinnitus were dispensed a hearing aid for a three month field trial. Each participant was given the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) in pre- and posthearing aid fitting conditions. Differences in THI total scores as well as sub-scale item scores were assessed between test conditions. The amount of reduction in individual THI sub-scale item group scores varied greatly between test conditions. The items with an ‘unaided’ starting score of 38 or higher, and saw the greatest reduction from ‘unaided’ to ‘aided’ conditions, involved the impact of tinnitus on hearing function. Paired differences t-test of THI total score group means was significantly reduced (p<0.05) from the ‘unaided’ to the ‘aided’ condition. A similar result was seen with the visual analog scale (VAS). A statistically significant positive correlation was observed between the THI total score and the VAS in both test conditions. The current study demonstrated that use of a hearing aid by individuals with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss may lessen the handicapping effects of tinnitus. Consistent with existing literature in the area, observed benefits were variable with some individuals reporting greater benefit than others. The reason for this variability is not clearly understood.