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Nottingham leads international COMiT tinnitus initiative

NIHR Nottingham BRC is the premiere UK centre for research on tinnitus (ringing in the ears) which is a long-term condition affecting up to 30% of the population. Our team is leading a major international initiative: the COMiT initiative. COMiT stands for ‘Core Outcomes Measures in Tinnitus’.

The ambition of the project is to improve the quality of future clinical research by identifying a minimum standard for assessing how a tinnitus treatment has worked. This issue is important because current research findings can’t be compared or combined across studies because they each make different tinnitus measurements. We launched our project in April 2017 with a video and Twitter. We have so far conducted a series of carefully designed online surveys and face-to-face workshops to make community decisions about what aspects of tinnitus are important and critical for deciding whether a treatment has worked.

Over 600 of the global tinnitus community taking part from over 40 countries

COMiT is supported by a European network of tinnitus professionals TINNET. And it has engaged the global tinnitus community with so far over 600 people taking part from over 40 countries.

A wide range of stakeholders have shared their views, including patients with lived experience of tinnitus, healthcare professionals, researchers, industry experts and funders of tinnitus research. Importantly, COMiT involves people with tinnitus as equal partners because we believe it is important that our findings are relevant to those with lived experience of this long-term condition. Thank you for all your support!

From our findings, COMiT now recommends the following minimum set of assessments to investigators. They are our minimal reporting standards which will enable findings to be compared across studies. Investigators will always be free to add other assessments to their clinical trial design, if they wish.

Sound-based treatments

  • tinnitus intrusiveness
  • ability to ignore
  • concentration
  • quality of sleep
  • sense of control

Psychology-based treatments

  • tinnitus intrusiveness
  • tinnitus acceptance
  • mood (including feelings of
    anxiety and depression)
  • negative thoughts and beliefs
  • sense of control

Drug-based treatments

  • tinnitus intrusiveness
  • tinnitus loudness

The minimum sets were selected on the basis that assessments are: i) directly relevant to patients with tinnitus, to the healthcare professionals giving the treatment, to companies developing tinnitus products, and to the researchers designing the trial, ii) directly relevant to how the treatment is supposed to be working, and iii) are expected to be very sensitive to change during the treatment.

These are our minimal reporting standards which will enable findings to be compared across studies. Investigators will always be free to add other assessments to their clinical trial design, if they wish. Our next steps will be to define exactly what each of the assessments means to the community so that we can make recommendations on how they should be measured.

Stay informed on our progress