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Int Tinnitus J. 2004;10(2):197-201.

Long-term follow-up of tinnitus in patients with otosclerosis after stapes surgery.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Brasília University Medical School, Brasília, Brazil.


We prospectively studied 48 otosclerosis patients over a 2-year interval. Forty-four had stapedotomy, and four had stapedectomy. Demographics, clinical history, and pre- and postoperative audiometry results were recorded. A questionnaire asking about tinnitus (intensity, pitch) and including a visual analog scale quantifying the degree (1-10) of annoyance caused by the tinnitus was completed pre- and postoperatively (4-10 months and 14-48 months, respectively). Ninety-one percent of the otosclerosis patients reported the presence of tinnitus, and 39.58% reported severe disabling tinnitus (SDT; 7-10 on the visual analog scale). High-pitch (whistle) tinnitus was present in most patients, and white noise (radio static, waterfall, rain) was present in others. No patient described the tinnitus as a low-tone noise (buzzing). Ninety-one percent of patients reported tinnitus reduction or total remission after surgery. Ten of 19 patients with SDT reported complete remission of tinnitus, 7 reported improvement postoperatively, and 2 reported no change. No patient reported worsening of tinnitus. Small postoperative air-bone gaps (four tonal average) correlated with remission or reduction of tinnitus in SDT patients. Tinnitus pitch, gender, and age of patients were not related to decrease of tinnitus postoperatively. A larger preoperative air-bone gap correlated with larger reduction of tinnitus after successful surgery. A lower preoperative bone conduction level correlated with more intense tinnitus before surgery and greater reduction postoperatively. We contacted 25 patients from 14 to 48 months after surgery, and all reported that their tinnitus status had not changed since the early follow-up. Tinnitus is very prevalent in otosclerosis patients; almost one-half of patients have SDT preoperatively, and stapes surgery improves this symptom in 91% of cases. Preoperative air-bone gap and bone conduction level and a postoperative airbone gap seem to influence the degree of postoperative tinnitus reduction.

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