J Am Acad Audiol 2013; 24(10): 920-926
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.24.10.4
American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved. (2013) American Academy of Audiology

Tinnitus Loudness Tracking: A “Type V Békésy” Pattern Does Not Exist for Pseudotinnitus

James R. Steiger
Emily J. Thielman
James A. Henry
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06. August 2020 (online)

Background: Evaluation tools are lacking for the identification of patients exhibiting pseudotinnitus. It was hypothesized that tinnitus loudness traces might show a separation between continuous and pulsed tones for participants exhibiting pseudotinnitus, that is, the “type V” pattern shown for threshold tracking among participants exhibiting pseudohypacusis. It was further hypothesized that tinnitus loudness tracking might reveal unreliable tinnitus loudness matches among participants exhibiting pseudotinnitus due to their lack of an internal tinnitus standard.

Purpose: To determine whether a tinnitus loudness tracking pattern exists for participants exhibiting pseudotinnitus.

Research Design: Nonrandomized posttest-only control design. The experimental group participants were those without tinnitus, and the control group participants were those with tinnitus.

Study Sample: There were 86 participants, including 45 with tinnitus and 41 without tinnitus. The participants' hearing varied from normal to severe hearing losses by pure-tone average at 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz.

Intervention: Participants without tinnitus were asked to act as if they had tinnitus and to complete tinnitus loudness matching as if they were trying to convince the test (or computer) that they had tinnitus.

Data Analysis: t-tests

Results: There were no statistically significant differences between individuals with tinnitus and participants acting out pseudotinnitus for any of six measures: (1) continuous tone tinnitus loudness tracking; (2) pulsed tone tinnitus loudness tracking; (3) differences between continuous and pulsed tone tinnitus loudness tracking; (4) continuous tone excursion width; (5) pulsed tone excursion width; and (6) differences between continuous and pulsed tone excursion width.

Conclusions: Tinnitus loudness tracking does not appear to hold promise as a clinical tool for the identification of participants exhibiting pseudotinnitus.