Feasibility of Intensive Ecological Sampling of Tinnitus in Intervention Research

Katherine M. Gerull, Dorina Kallogjeri, Marilyn L. Piccirillo, Thomas L. Rodebaugh, Eric J. Lenze, Jay F. Piccirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess whether adults with bothersome tinnitus will complete multiple ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) per day, including those during a therapeutic intervention trial. EMA is defined as repeated sampling of subjects’ current behaviors and experiences in real time. Study Design: Twelve-week longitudinal cohort study conducted from August 28, 2017, to December 14, 2017. Setting: Online only. Subjects: Thirty adults with self-reported bothersome nonpulsatile tinnitus of >6 months’ duration. Methods: Participants completed 2 weeks of EMA text surveys 7 times per day (preintervention), followed by 8 weeks of EMA questions 4 times per day (during intervention), concluding with 2 weeks of EMA questions 7 times per day (postintervention) for a total of 420 surveys over 12 weeks. During the 8-week intervention period, participants used a commercially available auditory-intensive online cognitive brain training program for 20 minutes per day, 5 times per week (total, 800 minutes). The primary outcome measures were compliance with EMA surveys, as measured by survey response rates, and participant-reported effects of EMA on their tinnitus bother. Results: Of the 30 participants in this study (20 women and 10 men; median age, 54 years [range, 47-64 years]), 25 participants completed the study protocol (83%). Participants completed a median 87% of EMA surveys (range, 67%-99%). Qualitative analysis of free-text responses found that participants did not report negative side effects of the EMA. Conclusion: Excellent participant compliance can be achieved with multiweek temporally rigorous EMA sampling. EMA sampling can successfully be conducted during an intervention. EMA is a promising sampling methodology in tinnitus research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • EMA
  • intervention
  • tinnitus


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