The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Main Articles

Neuro-otological findings in tinnitus patients with normal hearing

C Morales-Garciaa1 c1, G Quiroza1, J M Matamalaa1 and C Tapiaa2

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

Abstract

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)

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Carlos Morales-Garcia, Luis Thayer Ojeda Norte 0115-Of 705, Santiago 9, Chile. Fax: (56 2) 232 2763 E-mail: cvmoralesg@vtr.net

Footnotes

Dr C Morales-Garcia takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.

Competing interests: None declared