The Utility of Economic Measures to Quantify the Burden of Tinnitus in Affected Individuals: A Scoping Review


  • Daoud Elza
  • Caimino Charlotte
  • Akeroyd Michael A
  • Noreña Arnaud J
  • Baguley David M

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Background and objectives Tinnitus is a chronic subjective condition that impacts patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and requires multidisciplinary interventions. In health economics, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and willingness to pay (WTP) are essential for evaluating treatment effectiveness in cost-effectiveness, cost-utility, or cost-benefit analysis. The extent to which these economic measures have been used in tinnitus research has not been investigated. The objectives of this scoping review were to explore findings and limitations of existing studies and provide an insight into how these economic measures could be used to quantify the burden of tinnitus in affected individuals. Methods A scoping review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) methodological framework. The search strategy involved four electronic databases. Records were included when QALYs or WTP were measured in individuals whose primary or secondary complaint was tinnitus. Results A total of 15 studies were identified: three WTP assessment studies and 12 QALY assessment studies using direct preference-based measures (PBMs) (n = 4), indirect PBMs (n = 7), and a disease-specific psychometric instrument (n = 1). The limited use to date of PBMs to assess HRQoL in tinnitus patients is an important finding. Conclusions Further studies using reliable economic methods and focusing on patients' WTP for treatment or their preference for their current health state are needed. Applying PBMs in tinnitus research is crucial not only for the healthcare decisionmaking process but also to improve patient-centred care.

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