Why do patients with fibromyalgia complain of ear-related symptoms? Ear-related symptoms and otological findings in patients with fibromyalgia
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- Iikuni, F., Nomura, Y., Goto, F. et al. Clin Rheumatol (2013) 32: 1437. doi:10.1007/s10067-013-2287-2
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While fibromyalgia is frequently associated with ear-related symptoms such as feeling of ear fullness, earache, and tinnitus, the pathogenesis of these ear-related symptoms in fibromyalgia patients is unknown. Here, we focused on clarifying the pathogenesis of ear fullness, a particularly common symptom observed in fibromyalgia patients. Twenty patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia on outpatient psychosomatic treatment complaining of ear-related symptoms answered our questionnaire and underwent neurotological examination, including pure tone audiometry and Eustachian tube function testing. While ear-related symptoms were significantly exacerbated after onset of fibromyalgia, we noted no correlation between the presence or absence of feeling of ear fullness and abnormal findings on neurotological examination. Given our findings, we suspect that onset of ear fullness may be associated not with abnormal findings in the middle and inner ear function tests but with other causes, such as central desensitization.