Few studies have analysed subjective aspects of tinnitus or the association between clinical characteristics and the directionality of tinnitus. The study subjects comprised 207 patients who presented with tinnitus over two years and underwent tinnitus-related physical examinations and tinnitograms (includes pitch and loudness of tinnitus). Only patients with idiopathic tinnitus were included. Assessment of subjective symptoms, showed that discomfort was more frequent and severe in 102 patients with bilateral tinnitus. Patients with bilateral tinnitus were older (age range in years was 56.78 ± 16.6) and tended to have a longer duration of tinnitus (not a surprise!). Both tinnitus handicap index and Beck depression index values were significantly higher in patients with bilateral than unilateral tinnitus (p < 0.05 each). Moreover, the frequency of associated symptoms, including headache and dizziness, was higher in patients with bilateral than unilateral tinnitus. The duration of tinnitus tended to be longer in patients with bilateral than unilateral tinnitus. There was no mention of central tinnitus in the study. In spite of extensive research, tinnitus remains an enigma!

Comparison of clinical characteristics in patients with bilateral and unilateral tinnitus.
Yang CW, Jung J, Kim SH, et al.
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Sangeeta Maini

FRCS ORL-HNS, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Forresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZN.

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