COMIT’ID research study: New study to improve the future of tinnitus research - Action On Hearing Loss: RNID
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COMIT’ID research study: New study to improve the future of tinnitus research

Posted on: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by Tracey Pollard

Harriet Smith, Research Assistant at the Nottingham Biomedical Research CentreHarriet Smith, Research Assistant at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, discusses a new study that will improve the design of future trials for evaluating tinnitus treatments. Action on Hearing Loss has contributed some funding in support of COMIT’ID.

Researchers across the world are working to develop more effective relief for tinnitus, the sensation of ‘ringing’, ‘buzzing’ or ‘hissing’ in the ears or head. Whilst research activity is promising, investigators have acknowledged significant challenges in how patient benefit is measured when evaluating tinnitus treatments:

  • Tinnitus treatments are tested in lots of different ways: There is limited guidance for researchers on what tinnitus complaints should be measured when testing a treatment. For example, one study might measure the effect of a treatment on tinnitus loudness, while another might measure sleep disturbance. This lack of consistency makes it difficult to know which treatments work best.
  • Studies could be improved to be more time and cost effective: As studies are conducted differently, researchers cannot easily combine data from similar studies. This limits the ability to build a strong evidence-base to prove if treatment works or doesn’t. These limitations can slow the development of effective treatments and mean that studies are not being carried out in the most cost-effective way. 
  • Researchers may report the measure that tells the best story: Limited guidance means that individual researchers can measure changes in several different tinnitus complaints, and then choose to publish only the results that tell the best story. This biases findings towards positive results and is not good scientific practice.
  • Experts have a lot to learn from people who live with tinnitus: In existing research, people with tinnitus have not been involved in decisions around which complaints are most important to measure. This means there is a risk that what is being measured is not relevant to the complaints that are most problematic for people with lived experience of tinnitus.

About the COMIT’ID research study

Logo for the COMITID tinnitus studyOur team is addressing these challenges by developing a core set of tinnitus complaints to be included for measurement and reporting in all tinnitus treatment studies. The COMIT’ID Study is using an online survey to collect and bring together the opinions of members of the public with tinnitus, healthcare practitioners, researchers and industry representatives to decide the most important complaints to be measured. The research method is a specific, tried and tested approach that is designed to find agreement amongst a broad group of ‘experts’.

The opinions of all the groups involved will be treated equally and, importantly, members of the public with tinnitus will get a say in the tinnitus complaints included in the final core set. Both UK and internationally-based participants will be invited to take part, ensuring that the results of the COMIT’ID study will have global relevance and widespread support.

Why this research is important

We believe that if future tinnitus treatment studies consistently measure and report findings for an agreed, core set of complaints, the development of more effective tinnitus treatments can move forward faster.

Additionally, if the complaints measured are more relevant to what is most problematic for people with lived experience of tinnitus, future treatments are more likely to have a positive impact on the lives of people with tinnitus.

Take part in the COMIT’ID study to join our international collaboration to improve tinnitus research

Do you have tinnitus? Have you tried or thought about trying treatment? If so, we invite you to have your say.

Taking part in the COMIT’ID study involves completing an online survey, consisting of 3 separate rounds over a period of 4 months. The rounds will take up to 60 minutes each and can be completed at home.

If you are a healthcare professional with experience in tinnitus treatment, we’d love to hear from you too!

Find out more

You can download our participant information sheet to find out more.

Information for members of the public with tinnitus (external link, opens new window)

Information for professionals in tinnitus (external link, opens new window)

You can also visit our website (external link, opens new window) and follow us on Twitter (external link, opens new window) for the latest news.

Please email harriet.smith@nottingham.ac.uk to confirm your interest.

COMIT’ID: Core Outcome Measures in Tinnitus, International Delphi

 

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