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The relationship of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and hearing loss.
The triad of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and hearing loss remains an often-underdiagnosed combination of symptoms that causes physical, mental, and emotional distress for millions of patients. To the best of our knowledge, no review has heretofore been published in the literature regarding the possible relationship among these three entities. We believe that these symptoms may have a common pathophysiology. Specifically, improper function of cochlear hair cells may result in a hearing loss secondary to the failure of these cells to propagate proper signals through the auditory centers. In response to an incongruous neural message, higher auditory cortical centers may adapt and remodel transmitted sound. This neuroplasticity may lead to an increased perception of volume in the auditory cortex (hyperacusis) and to the perception of phantom sounds (tinnitus). Awareness of the potential relationship among tinnitus, hyperacusis, and hearing loss may contribute to improved diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up for patients with these conditions.
Division of Dentistry/Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo 43614-5807, USA.
Pub Type(s)Journal Article