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February 1988

Audible and Annoying Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions: A Case Study

Author Affiliations

From the Psychology Department, University of Maryland, College Park.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(2):150-153. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860140048019

• Four types of evidence indicate that spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) might be the basis of one patient's problematic tinnitus. First, when SOAEs were suppressed, the tinnitus was inaudible. Second, pitch matches to the lowest pitch of the tinnitus corresponded to the lowest frequency of the SOAE. Third, there was a more intense multicomponent SOAE in the right than in the left ear, and patient claimed that the tinnitus was louder in the right ear. Fourth, the patient's SOAEs were unstable and for this reason they might be audible. One practical consequences of this research is that patients with pathological tinnitus (which keeps them awake at night and interferes with concentration) should be tested for SOAEs. Because SOAEs are abolished by aspirin, it is possible that some unusual cases of problematic tinnitus could be easily treated.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1988;114:150-153)

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