Objective: Psychoacoustic measures of tinnitus, in particular dominant tinnitus pitch and its relationship to the shape of the audiogram, are important in determining and verifying pathophysiological mechanisms of the condition. Our previous study postulated that this relationship might vary between different groups of people with tinnitus. For a small subset of participants with narrow tinnitus bandwidth, pitch was associated with the audiometric edge, consistent with the tonotopic reorganization theory. The current study objective was to establish this relationship in an independent sample. Design: This was a retrospective design using data from five studies conducted between 2008 and 2013.
Study sample: From a cohort of 380 participants, a subgroup group of 129 with narrow tinnitus bandwidth were selected.
Results: Tinnitus pitch generally fell within the area of hearing loss. There was a statistically significant correlation between dominant tinnitus pitch and edge frequency; higher edge frequency being associated with higher dominant tinnitus pitch. However, similar to our previous study, for the majority of participants pitch was more than an octave above the edge frequency.
Conclusions: The findings did not support our prediction and are therefore not consistent with the reorganization theory postulating tinnitus pitch to correspond to the audiometric edge.