Somatic tinnitus prevalence and treatment with tinnitus retraining therapy


Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases and Head and Neck Surgery, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint Pierre, Brussels, Belgium

B-ENT 2016; 12: 59-65
Read: 1656 Downloads: 720 Published: 03 February 2020

Somatic tinnitus prevalence and treatment with tinnitus retraining therapy. Objectives: Somatic tinnitus originates from increased activity of the dorsal cochlear nucleus, a cross-point between the somatic and auditory systems. Its activity can be modified by auditory stimulation or somatic system manipulation. Thus, sound enrichment and white noise stimulation might decrease tinnitus and associated somatic symptoms. The present uncontrolled study sought to determine somatic tinnitus prevalence among tinnitus sufferers, and to investigate whether sound therapy with counselling (tinnitus retraining therapy; TRT) may decrease tinnitus-associated somatic symptoms.

Methods: To determine somatic tinnitus prevalence, 70 patients following the TRT protocol completed the Jastreboff Structured Interview (JSI) with additional questions regarding the presence and type of somatic symptoms. Among 21 somatic tinnitus patients, we further investigated the effects of TRT on tinnitus-associated facial dysesthesia. Before and after three months of TRT, tinnitus severity was evaluated using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), and facial dysesthesia was assessed with an extended JSI-based questionnaire.

Results: Among the evaluated tinnitus patients, 56% presented somatic tinnitus -including 51% with facial dysesthesia, 36% who could modulate tinnitus by head and neck movements, and 13% with both conditions. Self-evaluation indicated that TRT significantly improved tinnitus and facial dysesthesia in 76% of patients. Three months of TRT led to a 50% decrease in mean THI and JSI scores regarding facial dysesthesia.

Conclusions: Somatic tinnitus is a frequent and underestimated condition. We suggest an extension of the JSI, including specific questions regarding somatic tinnitus. TRT significantly improved tinnitus and accompanying facial dysesthesia, and could be a useful somatic tinnitus treatment.

EISSN 2684-4907