The relationship between tinnitus, cognitive performance and demands on the individual
This Thesis attempted to first replicate the work of Andersson et al. (2000) to identify possible cognitive decrements in tinnitus sufferers. In addition, a number of trait variables were measured in comparison to a matched control group. It was discovered that the tinnitus population did not differ in terms of any trait, yet still performed worse on a number of cognitive tasks - performing as accurately, but significantly more slowly. It was thus concluded that the presence of the tinnitus interfered with cognition by consuming valuable and finite attentional resources. A second study attempted to narrow this down further, identifying specific tasks and specific circumstances in which tinnitus sufferers performed less effectively than their non-tinnitus counterparts. From these results, it was postulated that the relationship between tinnitus severity and cognitive performance is moderated by demand and as such, a longitudinal diary study (six weeks) was undertaken to measure (self-rated) effectiveness under a wide range of demands in real life. Moderated hierarchical regression techniques were thus able to identify situations in which mental demand levels drive the relationship between tinnitus and performance, thus supporting the hypothesis.