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Noise Health. 2014 Mar-Apr;16(69):69-72. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.132078.

Relation of distortion product otoacoustic emission and tinnitus in normal hearing patients: a pilot study.

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  • 1C.U. Shah School of Audiology and Speech Therapy, Surendranagar, Gujarat, India.



Tinnitus, the perception of the sound in the absence of an external acoustic source, disrupts the daily life 1 out of every 200 adults, yet its physiological basis remains largely a mystery. The generation of tinnitus is commonly linked with the impaired functioning of the outer hair cells (OHC) inside the cochlea. Otoacoustic emissions are the objective test used to assess their activity.


The objective of the investigation was to study the features of Distortion product OtoAcoustic emissions (DPOAE) in a group of tinnitus patients with normal hearing and to find out whether there is any difference in DPOAE findings in the tinnitus patients with normal hearing and in persons with normal hearing with no complaint of tinnitus.


The participants consisted of two groups. The subject group consisted of 16 ears of patients, in which 6 subjects were having tinnitus in both ears while 4 subjects were having tinnitus only in one ear. All subjects were aged between 20 to 60 years with complaint of tinnitus with audiometrically normal hearing. Control group was comprised of 16 audiometrically normal hearing ears of persons who were age and gender matched with the subject groups and had no complaint of tinnitus. Both the subject group as well as control group was subjected for DPOAE test. Findings of both the groups were compared using the unpaired t test.


It was observed that the amplitudes of DPOAE were significantly lower in tinnitus patients than that of persons without complaint of tinnitus, at a frequency of 1281-1560, 5120-6250, 7243-8837 Hz, which imply that decrease of DPOAEs amplitudes may be related to the presence of tinnitus. It can be concluded that there is association between tinnitus and reduced OHC activity which indicate the OHC of cochlea are involved in the generation of tinnitus.

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