These are phantom noises (i.e. not heard by those around the patients) which consist of buzzing or whistling heard in one or both ears or in the head, in the absence of any external sound source. Tinnitus is a very common disorder in France and is reported to affect 1 to 8% of the population (up to 12 million French people suffer from occasional tinnitus 1). These disturbances can be the symptom of Ménière’s disease, a neuronoma or otosclerosis or follow any kind of hearing loss.
There is currently no curative treatment and the palliative therapies do not really meet patients’ needs. Treatments targeting hair cells or peripheral neurones could help to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. It would thus have a direct effect on the tinnitus and indirectly improve patients’ lives by reducing absence from work by facilitating their social interactions and improving their quality of life.
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 Londero A. et al. Contribution of cognitive and behavioral therapy for patients with tinnitus: implication in anxiety and depression. Ann Otolaryngol Chir Cervicofac. 2004 Dec;121(6):334-45.