Analysis and Influence of Lidocaine on Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions from Tinnitus Sufferers

  • B. Kollmeier
  • S. Uppenkamp
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA)


The discovery of otoacoustic emissions (Kemp, 1978) raised hope that some kind of tinnitus (that is, subjective sensations of sound without acoustical or electrical stimulation) could be attributed to mechanical hyperactivity in the inner ear. For this reason, the relation between tinnitus and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) has been investigated by several authors (c.f. Wilson and Sutton, 1981, Hazell, 1984, Penner and Burns, 1987). Their findings of no affirmative relation between both phenomena could have been affected by two circumstances: First, a relation between otoacoustic emissions and tinnitus might only occur if both effects originate from roughly the same location within the auditory pathway. Therefore, only cases of “peripheral” (sensorineural) tinnitus should be considered if a reliable distinction between central and peripheral tinnitus can be made at all. Second, tinnitus is often associated with hearing impairment whereas otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are rarely found in hearing-impaired subjects (Kemp, 1978). This fact might be due to attenuation in the middle ear (primarily for conductive hearing losses), the altered mechanical (back-)propagation in the basal turns of the cochlea and alterations in the “active” cochlea feedback mechanisms. In order to obtain information on these neuro-mechanical mechanisms even in hearing-impaired tinnitus sufferers in a reproducible way, we decided to record evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAEs). In addition, we attempted to classify the probable origin of the tinnitus clinically and by the effect of lidocaine, a drug that prolongs the refractory period and hence reduces the activity of certain neurons: A subjective change in the perceived tinnitus after an infusion of lidocaine (2mg/kg body weight) indicates a peripheral (sensorineural) origin (Shulman and Seitz, 1981). In addition, a lidocaine effect on the EOAE would provide further evidence that OAEs in humans are generated by an active feedback mechanism which is controlled by neural activity. Last, a correlation between the lidocaine effect on EOAEs and tinnitus would help to clarify the origin of tinnitus.


Hearing Loss Acoustic Emission Stimulus Level Otoacoustic Emission Conductive Hearing Loss 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Claasen, T.A.C.M., Mecklenbräuker, U.F.G. (1980) The Wigner Distribution — a tool for time-frequency analysis. Philips J. Res. 35, 217–250.Google Scholar
  2. Feldmann, H. (1971) Homolateral and Contralateral Masking of Tinnitus by Noise-Bands and by Pure Tones. Audiology 10, 138–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hazell, J.W.P. (1984) Spontaneous cochlear acoustic emissions and tinnitus: Clinical experience in the tinnitus patient. J. Laryngol. Suppl. 9, 106–110.Google Scholar
  4. Kemp, D.T. (1978) Stimulated acoustic emissions from within the human auditory system. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 64, 1386–1391.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Penner, M.J., Burns, E.M. (1987) The dissociation of SOAE’s and tinnitus. J. Speech Hear. Res. 30, 396–402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Shulman, A., Seitz, M.R. (1981) Central Tinnitus-Diagnosis and Treatment. The Laryngoscope 91, 2025–2036.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Wilson, J.P., Sutton, G.J. (1981) Acoustic correlates of tonal tinnitus. In: Tinnitus (Eds: Evered, D. and Larenson, G.) Pitman, London, pp. 82–100.Google Scholar
  8. Zwicker, E. (1985) Das Ohr als aktives schallverarbeitendes und schallaussendendes System. In: Fortschritte d. Akustik, DAGA’85, DPG-Verlag, Bad Honnef, FRG, pp. 29–44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Kollmeier
    • 1
  • S. Uppenkamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Drittes Physikalisches InstitutUniversität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations