Tinnitus Scoring – the Nuances

There is something to be aware of when assessing theseverity of Tinnitus, in that there is a potential disconnect between the scoring systems used by Medical Professionals – Doctors, Audiologists  vs the scoring system used by DVA.

Lets examine the differences.

DVA Scoring

Tinnitus Severity Index

Please read each question below carefully. To answer a question, select ONE of the
numbers that is listed for that question, and draw a CIRCLE around it like this: 10% or 1 .

Over the PAST WEEK…
1. What percentage of your time awake were you consciously AWARE OF your tinnitus?
2. How STRONG or LOUD was your tinnitus?
3. What percentage of your time awake were you ANNOYED by your tinnitus?

Over the PAST WEEK…
4. Did you feel IN CONTROL in regard to your tinnitus?
5. How easy was it for you to COPE with your tinnitus?
6. How easy was it for you to IGNORE your tinnitus?

Over the PAST WEEK, how much did your tinnitus interfere with…
7. Your ability to CONCENTRATE?
8. Your ability to THINK CLEARLY?
9. Your ability to FOCUS ATTENTION on other things besides your tinnitus?

 Over the PAST WEEK…
10. How often did your tinnitus make it difficult to FALL ASLEEP or STAY ASLEEP?
11. How often did your tinnitus cause you difficulty in getting AS MUCH SLEEP as you needed?
12. How much of the time did your tinnitus keep you from SLEEPING as DEEPLY or as PEACEFULLY as you would have liked?

Over the PAST WEEK, how much has your tinnitus interfered with…
13. Your ability to HEAR CLEARLY? 
14. Your ability to UNDERSTAND PEOPLE who  are talking? 
15. Your ability to FOLLOW CONVERSATIONS in a group or at meetings?

Over the PAST WEEK, how much has your tinnitus interfered with…
17. Your ability to RELAX?
18. Your ability to enjoy “PEACE AND QUIET”?

Over the PAST WEEK, how much has your tinnitus interfered with…
19. Your enjoyment of SOCIAL ACTIVITIES? 
21. Your RELATIONSHIPS with family, friends  and other people?
22. How often did your tinnitus cause you to have difficulty performing your WORK OR OTHER TASKS, such as home maintenance, school work, or caring for children or others?

Over the PAST WEEK…
23. How ANXIOUS or WORRIED has your tinnitus made you feel?
24. How BOTHERED or UPSET have you been because of your tinnitus?
25. How DEPRESSED were you because of your tinnitus?

Extra Questions Normally Assessed

Audiologists will normally ask about use of “masking devices” when falling asleep

  • fans
  • radios
  • white noise apps

Tinnitus under the GARP

The system used to score Tinnitus is defined in the DVA GARP.



No tinnitus or occasional tinnitus.



Very mild tinnitus: not present every day.



Tinnitus every day, but tolerable for much of the time.



Severe tinnitus, eg of similar severity to that requiring a masking device, present every day.



Very severe tinnitus, present every day, causing distraction, loss of concentration and extreme
discomfort, and regularly interfering with sleep.

DVA Metrics

The metrics used for scoring by DVA are:


  • Present every day: YES/ NO


  • Very Mild: no further explanation
  • Mild/Moderate(?) : Tolerable much of the time
  • Severe: eg of similar seveity to that requiring a masking device
  • Very severe:
    • Distraction
    • loss of concentration
    • extreme discomfort
    • regularly interfering with sleep

Permanent Impairment Assessments – now Australia-wide

Permanent Impairment Assessments have been now made available throughout Australia. For anyone with more than 4 claims to be assessed, we are happy to assist with the cost of travel for getting these Assessments done in Brisbane. 

Dr Thomas Perkins from the Veterans Health Centre provides comprehsneive and accurate Permanent Impairment Assessments, done to the letter of the GARP, with accurate reporting and examination of all aspects of your accepted conditions. 

We provide a thorough independent report to complement the DVA forms, and ensure that the impairment is accyrately recorded and reflected in this process. 

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