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

La Guinn Sherlock*, Gregory Ellis, Alyssa Davidson, Douglas Brungart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this project was to establish cutoff scores on the tinnitus subscale of the Tinnitus and Hearing Survey (THS) using a large sample of United States service members (SM) with the end goal of guiding clinical referrals for tinnitus evaluation. A total of 4,589 SM undergoing annual audiometric surveillance were prospectively recruited to complete the THS tinnitus subscale (THS-T). A subset of 1,304 participants also completed the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI). The original 5-point response scale of the THS (THS-T16) was modified to an 11-point scale (THS-T40) for some participants, to align with the response scale of the TFI. Age, sex, hearing loss, and self-reported tinnitus bother were also recorded. The THS-T was relatively insensitive to hearing, but self-reported bothersome tinnitus was significantly associated with the THS-T40 score. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine cutoff scores on the THS-T that aligned with recommended cutoff values for clinical intervention on the TFI. A cutoff of 9 on the THS-T40 aligns with a TFI cutoff of 25, indicating a patient may need intervention for tinnitus. A cutoff of 15 aligns with a TFI cutoff of 50, indicating that more aggressive intervention for tinnitus is warranted. The THS-T is a viable tool to identify patients with tinnitus complaints warranting clinical evaluation for use by hearing conservation programs and primary care clinics. The THS-T40 cutoff scores of 9 and 15 provide clinical reference points to guide referrals to audiology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • military medicine
  • tinnitus
  • Tinnitus Functional Index


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