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July 1989

Aspirin Abolishes Tinnitus Caused by Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions: A Case Study

Author Affiliations

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

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(7):871-875. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860310109034

• A series of experimental tests are presented indicating that numerous spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) are likely to provide the basis of monaural tinnitus for one female patient. For this patient, (1) the tinnitus disappeared only when all SOAE components were suppressed, (2) with all but one emission suppressed, the frequency of an external tone said to match the pitch of the tinnitus was close to the frequency of the unsuppressed SOAE, and (3) the isomasking contour for the tinnitus was frequency specific. All these tests indicated that the patient was likely to be hearing SOAEs. During subsequent aspirin administration, her SOAEs disappeared and her perception of her tinnitus was radically altered. The tinnitus was no longer described as monaural and "tonal" but instead was described as being "noise in the head."

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1989;115:871-875)