When using serial questionnaires to measure a tinnitus patient's progress, do you let the patient see their previous results?
Before I answer, let me provide some background information. We can use subjective scale measures to first establish a baseline score for a patient who is being treated for tinnitus. These measures also identify how tinnitus is affecting the patient’s quality of life. Subjective measures help you as the audiologist, alongside the patient, establish individualized goals and track progress.
I have an intake questionnaire that I use to find out the patient’s needs, thoughts and beliefs. The subjective scales, such as the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), the Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire (TRQ) and the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), are what I would use for verification. To answer your question, no, I do not let patients see their previous results. I give them a new questionnaire each time they come in to fill out in front of me. I look at their results, and then I might talk to them about individual items. Seeing their initial results will bias them one way or the other. If their goal was for their tinnitus to go away and it has not gone away, they may actually write down “less benefit” on the TFI than they are truly receiving, simply because they have not achieved their final objective. My recommendation is to start with a blank questionnaire each time.
This Ask the Expert was taken from the webinar Adding Tinnitus Management to Your Service Portfolio, presented by Robert Sweetow, PhD. on behalf of Widex. Click the webinar title to register for and view the webinar.