Rapid Assessment of Subjective Hearing Complaints With a Modified Version of the Tinnitus and Hearing Survey

Alyssa Davidson, Gregory Ellis, La Guinn P. Sherlock, Jaclyn Schurman, Douglas Brungart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hearing difficulties are frequently reported by patients in audiology clinics, including patients with normal audiometric thresholds. However, because all individuals experience some difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, it can be difficult to assess hearing complaints objectively across patients. Normative values help address this issue by providing an objective cutoff score for determining what is or is not clinically significant. The goal of this study was to establish normative values for the four-item hearing subscale of the Tinnitus and Hearing Survey (THS-H). Respondents completing the THS-H rate the level of difficulty understanding speech in the situations most commonly reported as being difficult: in the presence of noise, on TV or in movies, soft voices and group conversations. In this study, 22,583 US Service Members (SMs) completed the THS-H using an 11-point scale ranging from 0 (not a problem) to 10 (a very big problem). Responses to the four items were summed to produce values between 0 and 40. The distribution of the final scores was analyzed based on severity of hearing loss, age, and sex. Only 5% of SMs with clinically normal hearing scored above 27, so this score was selected as a cutoff for “clinically significant hearing problems.” Due to its ease of administration and interpretation, the THS-H could be a useful tool for identifying patients with subjective hearing difficulty warranting audiological evaluation and management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • hearing
  • military medicine
  • surveys and questionnaires


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