a1 Department of Neuro-Otology, University of Chile School of Medicine, Salvador Hospital, Santiago, Chile
a2 Department of Otolaryngology, University of Chile School of Medicine, Salvador Hospital, Santiago, Chile
Introduction: Tinnitus is usually associated with hearing loss, and patients with tinnitus and normal hearing are unusual. Neuro-otological findings have not previously been described in tinnitus patients with normal hearing.
Aim: To analyse neuro-otological examination results from a group of tinnitus patients with normal hearing.
Materials and methods: Seventeen normal-hearing tinnitus patients seen over a 10-year period were retrospectively evaluated. Their results were compared with those of a control group of 17 normal subjects without tinnitus.
Results: The main neuro-otological finding in the tinnitus patients was caloric test abnormality: a unilateral canal paresis was present in 15 of the 17 patients. Caloric tests were normal in 15 of the 17 control subjects.
Conclusion: We may infer from these results that tinnitus could be the only clinical manifestation of a cochlear – and presumably cochleo-vestibular – lesion, and that unilateral canal paresis may be the only abnormal finding on neuro-otological examination.
(Accepted September 14 2009)
(Online publication December 11 2009)
Dr C Morales-Garcia takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.
Competing interests: None declared