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September 1956

Tinnitus, Deafness, and Vertigo: A Discussion of Etiology

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1956;64(3):196-204. doi:10.1001/archotol.1956.03830150026005

Just what do we mean when we use the words tinnitus, deafness, and vertigo? The following brief definitions are submitted to orient our understanding.

Tinnitus is an autogenous sensation of noise* in the ear or in the head.

Deafness, partial or total, even sudden deafness, is a sensation only in the sense of being a lack of sensation, a loss of hearing, real, imagined, or malingered.

Vertigo is a disturbing sensation of turning, unsteadiness, or disorientation of the position or movement of the body in space or in relation to the environment itself or to gravity.

We shall not at this time discuss the anatomy and physiology of the tissues and organs concerned with tinnitus, deafness, and vertigo except incidentally some items under discussion.

There are two distinct kinds of head noise: (a) vibratory, which is caused by actual vibrations in the tissues or structures in and about the head

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