Tinnitus, commonly referred to as "ringing in the ears", affects 50 million people in the United States and is recognized as a major public health concern. Tinnitus is the most frequent cause of service-connected disability claims among war veterans. Tinnitus remains a subjectively diagnosed entity. There is no standardized objective method of diagnosing tinnitus or describing the functional impact of the condition. Currently, physicians have to rely on patient-based self reports. Without an objective method of diagnosing tinnitus and describing the functional implications, adequate treatment delivery is also hampered since there is no way to objectively stratify patients into severity groups and assess response to treatment. Because tinnitus is known to negatively affect cognition through the ventral attention networks and the prefrontal cortex, measuring cognitive processing speed is a possible way to objectively measure tinnitus. This study builds on previous work the investigators have done that utilized a quick, easily accessible measure of auditory processing speed. That earlier study showed a correlation between that measure and self reported measures of tinnitus severity, and this study attempts determine a more precise estimate of that correlation. It also better validates those results by including a traditional neurocognitive measuring cognitive speed and by controlling for the presence of depression and somatoform disorders.
Study Start Date: June 2011
Study Completion Date: October 2011
Primary Completion Date: October 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)