METHODS: Four questions and their corresponding response options were adapted from existing population-based surveys to assess tinnitus prevalence, tinnitus symptom severity, use of healthcare resources for tinnitus and hearing difficulty. The translated versions (Bulgarian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish) were generated using recognized methods to achieve a "world-for-world" translation.
RESULTS: Translated versions were produced with acceptable functional equivalence to the original English-language version, as judged by a small panel of bilingual speakers who participated in the online field testing.
CONCLUSION: This work is the first of its kind to promote multi-national standardization by creating a set of tools that can readily be used across countries. These are currently being used in a European-wide study of tinnitus prevalence, and have wider application across English- and Spanish speaking countries including the Americas and Oceania.
METHOD: Here we present a new case history instrument which is comprehensive in scope and can be answered by people with and without tinnitus alike. This 'European School for Interdisciplinary Tinnitus Research Screening Questionnaire' (ESIT-SQ) was developed with specific attention to questions about potential risk factors for tinnitus (including demographics, lifestyle, general medical and otological histories), and tinnitus characteristics (including perceptual characteristics, modulating factors, and associations with co-existing conditions). It was first developed in English, then translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Swedish, thus having broad applicability and supporting international collaboration.
CONCLUSIONS: With respect to better understanding tinnitus profiles, we anticipate the ESIT-SQ to be a starting point for comprehensive multi-variate analyses of tinnitus. Data collected with the ESIT-SQ can allow establishment of patterns that distinguish tinnitus from non-tinnitus, and definition of common sets of tinnitus characteristics which might be indicated by the presence of otological or comorbid systemic diseases for which tinnitus is a known symptom.