European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 267, Issue 11, pp 1685–1693 | Cite as

Assessing audiological, pathophysiological and psychological variables in tinnitus patients with or without hearing loss

  • Francesco Martines
  • Daniela Bentivegna
  • Enrico Martines
  • Vincenzo Sciacca
  • Gioacchino Martinciglio


The aim of this work is to study the characteristics of tinnitus both in normal hearing subjects and in patients with hearing loss. The study considered tinnitus sufferers, ranging from 21 to 83 years of age, who were referred to the Audiology Section of Palermo University in the years 2006–2008. The following parameters were considered: age, sex, hearing threshold, tinnitus laterality, tinnitus duration, tinnitus measurements and subjective disturbance caused by tinnitus. The sample was divided into Group1 (G1), 115 subjects with normal hearing, and Group2 (G2), 197 subjects with hearing loss. Especially for G2, there was a predominance of males compared to females (P = 0.011); the highest percentage of tinnitus resulted in the decades 61–70 and >70 with a significant difference for G2 demonstrating that the hearing status and the elderly represent the principal tinnitus-related factors (P < 0.0001). The hearing impairment resulted in most cases of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) type and was limited to the high frequencies; the 72.1% of the patients with SNHL had a high-pitched tinnitus, while the 88.4% of the patients with a high-frequency SNHL had a high-pitched tinnitus (P < 0.0001). As to the subjective discomfort, the catastrophic category was the most representative among G1 with a significant difference between the two groups; no correlation was found between the level of tinnitus intensity and the tinnitus annoyance confirming the possibility that tinnitus discomfort is elicited by a certain degree of psychological distress as anxiety, depression, irritability and phobias.


Tinnitus Normal hearing Hearing loss 


Conflict of interest statement

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Martines
    • 1
    • 4
  • Daniela Bentivegna
    • 2
  • Enrico Martines
    • 2
  • Vincenzo Sciacca
    • 3
  • Gioacchino Martinciglio
    • 2
  1. 1.Sezione di Otorinolaringoiatria, Dipartimento di Neuroscienze Cliniche (DINeC)Università degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Sezione di Audiologia, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Mediche e Medicina Legale (DIBiMed.)Università degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Matematica e ApplicazioniUniversità degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly
  4. 4.PalermoItaly

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