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Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus
Online ISSN 1827-188X
ADVANCES IN OTOLARYNGOLOGY IN 2011
Bauer C. A.
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield IL, USA
Tinnitus is the perception of sound that does not have an external correlate. It is a symptom that has been experienced by humans for millennia and is not limited by social, cultural or economic variables. Chronic tinnitus is a complex phenomenon that has challenged clinicians who treat tinnitus patients and scientists exploring the mechanisms that result in a phantom perception. In the vast majority of people with tinnitus the perception is not intrusive, disruptive or bothersome. For some, the experience of a continuous sound from which there is no escape or relief is debilitating. In some cases tinnitus is a symptom of an otologic disorder that requires, and can benefit from, surgical intervention. In other cases tinnitus is a secondary symptom of a non-otologic disorder that improves or resolves with medical intervention for the primary problem, such as environemtal allergies, migraine headaches or hypertension. Most cases of chronic bothersome tinnitus result from sensorineural hearing loss. This association has significant implications for the current views on mechanisms of tinnitus pathology and appropriate treatments, which will be discussed. Treatments aimed at elimination of tinnitus have been available for centuries. Most early tinnitus treatments were based on empiricism and anecdotal evidence. Advances in neuroscience, availability of tools assessing neural correlates of tinnitus and the development of models for testing tinnitus theories have led to theory-driven clinical studies. An overview of the theoretical basis of current tinnitus treatments will be presented and promising areas for translating basic science to clinical treatments will be suggested. Advances in tinnitus treatments, and the rationale basis for these treatments will be reviewed.