An et al (2012) reported a prospective controlled study involving 40 tinnitus patients compared to 40 control subjects with regard to the question, “Does tinnitus interfere with localization ability?” Forty tinnitus patients (mean age 37 years) and the 40 control subjects (mean age 39 years) all with essentially normal hearing participated. An et al report tinnitus has previously been show to interfere with temporal resolution (via Gaps-In-Noise testing), as well as memory and attention and is related to altered cognitive function—yet localization tasks have not previously been reported for these patients (per the authors).
The authors performed a sound localization test (SLT) using seven loudspeakers. Each speaker was placed in a semi-circle located one meter from the patient and the loudspeakers were placed 30 degrees apart. The patient/subjects sat in the center of the semicircle.
Paired T-tests were used to evaluate differences between the groups with regard to age, gender and pure tone hearing thresholds. No significant differences were found. Using a “tinnitogram” to match pitch and loudness, the authors report the most common matched tinnitus pitch was 8 kHz (12 patients) and the most common loudness was 5 dB (14 patients).
The authors report tinnitus does interfere with localization ability and this is additionally exacerbated when the tinnitus and the sound source are located on the same side.
For More Information, References and Recommendations
An YH, Lee LH, Yoon SW, Jin SY, Shim HJ. (2012) Does Tinnitus Affect the Sound Localization Ability? Otology Neurotology 33:692-698.
Beck, DL (2011) : Hearing Aid Amplification and Tinnitus -2011 Overview. Hearing Journal 64(6):12-14.
Henry JA, Zaugg TL, Myers PJ, Kendall CJ. (2012) Progressive Tinnitus Management, NCRAR, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Reviewed/Updated March 30.
Kochkin S, Tyler R, Born J. (2011) MarkeTrak VIII: The Prevalence of Tinnitus in the United States and the Self-Reported Efficacy of Various Treatments. Hearing Review 18(12):10-26.
Article source: http://www.audiology.org/news/Pages/20120905.aspx