Perception of sound in the absence of any external auditory stimulus.
Sounds may be described as ringing, humming, buzzing, hissing, clicking, or pulsing.
May occur intermittently or constantly.
Diagnosis is based on clinical evaluation and audiometry. There may be a role for additional studies, such as auditory brainstem responses, otoacoustic emissions, and neuroimaging.
Treatment is challenging as tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Thus intervention depends on treating the underlying cause.
Tinnitus is the perception of sounds in the absence of external auditory stimulus. It is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Tinnitus may be the result of hearing loss, noise damage, aging, medication use, sounds produced by adjacent structures, or other disease processes.
History and exam
- thyroid function tests
- lipid profile
- fasting glucose
- fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption assay
- MRI head
- CT temporal bones
- MR angiography or CT angiography
- carotid angiography
- auditory brainstem response (ABR)
- minimal masking level
- residual inhibition
- loudness and pitch matching
- loudness discomfort level testing
Michael D. Seidman, MD, FACS
Medical Director Otologic/Neurotologic/Skull Base Surgery
Medical Director Wellness
Florida Hospital Celebration Health
Professort of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
University of Central Florida
Board of Directors American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
MDS is a consultant for Acclarent; is the owner of Body Language Vitamins; and is involved in post-market studies for Envoy (noncompensated) and research for MicroTransponder, Inc (noncompensated), Auris Medical, and the National Institutes of Health. He receives royalties from 7 patents. He is an author of a number of references cited in this topic.
Dr Michael D. Seidman would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Hamid Djalilian, Dr Alice Lee, Dr Vanessa Rothholtz, and Dr Sanaz Hamidi, the previous contributors to this topic. HD, AL, VR, and SH declare that they have no competing interests.
Aaron Benson, MD
Clinical Adjunct Professor
Division of Neurotology
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
University of Michigan
AB declares that he has no competing interests.
Andrew McCombe, MD, FRCS(ORL)
Consultant ENT Surgeon
Frimley Park Hospital
AM declares that he has no competing interests.
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