Web-based discussion forums reveal the person-centered relevance and importance of tinnitus

Deborah A. Hall*, Alice Hibbert, Markku Vesala, Micky Kerr, Stephen Harrison, for the Core Outcome Measures in Tinnitus (COMiT)

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    An increasing number of health researchers are recognizing the benefits of crowdsourcing. Web-based discussion forums are well suited for collecting qualitative research data with tinnitus participants and forum posts can be evaluated using thematic analysis. The present study reports an innovative use of such qualitative data contributed by a group of 148 people with tinnitus and tinnitus professionals through the crowdsourcing platform Tinnitus Talk. While the primary research question was focused on defining symptom concepts, discussions were broad-ranging and extended far beyond this topic. Thematic analysis of the discussion conducted by two analysts identified three novel emerging themes and these were not pre-planned according to the moderator's script. These were (i) the lived experience of tinnitus, (ii) perspectives on interventions for tinnitus, and (iii) the experience of participating in a web discussion forum. These unexpected themes contribute to a richer and more in-depth understanding of tinnitus seen through the eyes of those who experience it on a daily basis. Findings are important since spontaneous themes presumably reflect issues that are of personal relevance and importance to the participants. They therefore give insights into future research directions and have implications for patient-centered counseling strategies that could be effective in clinic.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTinnitus - An Interdisciplinary Approach Towards Individualized Treatment
    Subtitle of host publicationFrom Heterogeneity to Personalized Medicine
    EditorsWinfried Schlee, Berthold Langguth, Tobias Kleinjung, Sven Vanneste, Dirk De Ridder
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Print)9780128215869
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NameProgress in Brain Research
    ISSN (Print)0079-6123
    ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855


    • Crowdsourcing
    • Diversity
    • Lived experience
    • Patient-centered
    • Qualitative research

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Neuroscience


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