COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The psychometric properties of the Tinnitus Handicap Questionnaire in a Dutch-speaking population

S Vanneste, W T To, D De Ridder
Clinical Otolaryngology 2011, 36 (1): 9-16
21208381

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study is to translate and validate the tinnitus handicap questionnaire (THQ) for a Dutch-speaking population. The factor structure of the questionnaire, the reliability and the validity is determined. Furthermore, a statistical comparison with the original English version of the tinnitus handicap questionnaire is performed.

METHODOLOGY: We assessed 101 patients at the Tinnitus Research Initiative clinic of Antwerp University Hospital. Twenty-seven Dutch items from the tinnitus handicap questionnaire by Kuk et al. [(1990), Ear Hear11:434-45.] were obtained by the process of translation and back translation. The factor structure, internal consistency, was evaluated using Cronbach's alpha coefficient and item correlations were used to confirm reliability. The construct validity was confirmed with a visual analogue scale for loudness and distress, awareness, annoyance, the Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ), the mini-Tinnitus Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Profile of Mood State (POMS), ensuring that this new instrument measures the tinnitus handicap.

RESULTS: This study demonstrates that the Dutch version of the tinnitus handicap questionnaire is a reliable (Cronbach's alpha coefficient α = 0.93) and valid measure of self-perceived tinnitus-related distress [with visual analogue scale for loudness (r = 0.39) and distress (r =0.45), awareness (r = 0.39), annoyance (r = 0.57), the Tinnitus Questionnaire (r = 0.82), the mini-Tinnitus Questionnaire (r = 0.79), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (r = 0.62) and the Beck Depression Inventory (r = 0.32)]. The psychometric properties are in line with previous findings on the English version with regard to reliability and validity. However, the items in the subscales differ from the English version. While the English version has three subscales, our version has only two subscales. Yet, the English version reports that for the three factors, there is a low internal consistency and low correlation among the different items. For the Dutch-speaking version, both factors show a very high reliability and validity.

CONCLUSIONS: The tinnitus handicap questionnaire is suitable for assessing the handicapping effects of tinnitus among a Dutch-speaking population in both clinical and research settings.

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