Items in AFP with MESH term: Tinnitus

Diagnostic Approach to Tinnitus - Article

ABSTRACT: Tinnitus is a common disorder with many possible causes. Most cases of tinnitus are subjective, but occasionally the tinnitus can be heard by an examiner. Otologic problems, especially hearing loss, are the most common causes of subjective tinnitus. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include external ear infection, cerumen impaction, and middle ear effusion. Sensorineural hearing loss may be caused by exposure to excessive loud noise, presbycusis, ototoxic medications, or Meniere's disease. Unilateral hearing loss plus tinnitus should increase suspicion for acoustic neuroma. Subjective tinnitus also may be caused by neurologic, metabolic, or psychogenic disorders. Objective tinnitus usually is caused by vascular abnormalities of the carotid artery or jugular venous systems. Initial evaluation of tinnitus should include a thorough history, head and neck examination, and audiometric testing to identify an underlying etiology. Unilateral or pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by more serious pathology and typically merits specialized audiometric testing and radiologic studies. In patients who are discomforted by tinnitus and have no remediable cause, auditory masking may provide some relief.


Tinnitus - Clinical Evidence Handbook


Diagnostic Approach to Patients with Tinnitus - Article

ABSTRACT: Tinnitus, a common symptom encountered in family medicine, is defined as the perception of noise in the absence of an acoustic stimulus outside of the body. Because tinnitus is a symptom and not a disease, its underlying cause must be determined to best help patients. Although tinnitus is often idiopathic, sensorineural hearing loss is the most common identified cause. It can also be caused by other otologic, vascular, neoplastic, neurologic, pharmacologic, dental, and psychological factors. More serious causes, such as Meniere disease or vestibular schwannoma, can be excluded during the evaluation. History and physical examination of the head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, and neurologic system guide subsequent evaluation. Almost all patients with tinnitus should undergo audiometry with tympanometry, and some patients require neuroimaging or assessment of vestibular function with electronystagmography. Supportive counseling should begin during the initial evaluation to help patients cope with tinnitus. Counseling may also improve the chances of successful subsequent treatment.



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