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Int J Psychiatry Med. 1985-1986;15(1):81-7.

Is tinnitus a psychological disorder?


There have been consistent reports in the psychosomatic literature indicating that a patient's perception of tinnitus as well as differential response to various treatment modalities may be affected by personality variables. The present study examined several personality correlates of subjective tinnitus in forty-five male patients referred to the Audiology Clinic of a large VA Medical Center with constant tinnitus of at least six months duration. Information was also collected on etiology, onset and chronicity, medications, prior treatment and related medical problems. Four standard psychological tests (MMPI, Cattel's 16 PF, Rotter's Locus of Control and Holmes and Rahe Life Stress Scale) were administered to all patients in the study, in addition to a comprehensive audiologic and otologic evaluation. Correlational analyses were used to examine the relationship between personality profiles and the demographic, medical and audiologic data. The expected psychosomatic characteristics of this patient population did not emerge as had been predicted from previous reports in the literature. Findings suggest that tinnitus may have an unwarranted reputation as a psychopathological disorder. Therefore, conventional psychotherapy may be of limited efficacy whereas standard audiologic treatment approaches may be more promising.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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