Tinnitus with or without hearing loss: are its characteristics different?
Published on Nov 1, 2008in European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology1.75
· DOI :10.1007/s00405-008-0630-z
The present study was carried out in order to analyze the clinical characteristics of tinnitus both in normal hearing subjects and in patients with hearing loss. The study considered 520 consecutive tinnitus sufferers. The following parameters were considered: age, sex, subjective disturbance caused by tinnitus, subjective judgment of tinnitus intensity, tinnitus laterality, tinnitus duration, tinnitus measurements, normal hearing or associated hearing loss. Among the patients considered, 223 have normal hearing while 297 have a hearing deficit. The hearing impairment was found to be in most cases of sensorineural type. The subjective discomfort is higher in presence of hearing loss. Subjects with hearing loss needed significantly higher masking levels. No evident differences in the residual inhibition (RI) result between the two groups were found. The present study confirms that tinnitus is most frequently associated with hearing loss. The characteristics of tinnitus in normal hearing subjects, except for the subjective judgment of tinnitus intensity, the pitch and the RI, are significantly different for those observed in subjects with hearing loss. The association of tinnitus and hearing deficit seems to increase the perceived severity of the symptom.