Objective: Tinnitus is one of the most common and distressing otological symptoms. Although numerous therapeutic modalities have been tried, there is no consensus regarding effective therapeutic agents up to now. The effects of lidocaine on tinnitus have been reported in literature using either subjective or audiologic tests. Nevertheless, the otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) have not been utilized to demonstrate lidocaine's effect on the cochlea in the English literature. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of lidocaine on tinnitus by considering the alterations with tinnitus, it induces on OAEs and subjective symptoms.
Methods: This study was performed in 30 patients with tinnitus. Twenty-eight of the patients had normal hearing and two of them evidenced mild sensorineural hearing loss. To determine the severity of tinnitus, the patients were required to fill out a tinnitus scoring scale before lidocaine infusion on the same day. Then, lidocaine was administered intravenously to each patient at a dose of 1.5 mg/kg body weight over a period of 30 min. Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) were measured three times; namely before lidocaine injection, at 25 min after injection and on the next day. The severity of tinnitus was scored again 1 d, 1 wk and 1 mo after lidocaine administration.
Results: Immediately after infusion, four patients (13.3%) declared total suppression of tinnitus, whereas three patients (10%) reported only partial relief in tinnitus subjectively. The patients, who had a subjective improved response (group 1) were compared with the patients, who had no response (group 2). Statistically significant changes (p<0.05) in DPOAE response/growth or input/output (I/O) functions were observed at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 kHz frequencies in lidocaine responders and at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 kHz frequencies in no responders at different primary stimulus levels. Statistically significant changes (p<0.05) were seen at 2 kHz for 53 dB and at 3 kHz for 62 dB SPL primaries in both groups. When the significant results of these two groups were compared with each other, differences were found insignificant.
Conclusion: Systematic OAE measurements revealed that no changes occurred in SOAE and DPOAE levels in that alterations disappeared the next day. Subjective relief from tinnitus was stated in some of the patients and lasted for 4 wk at longest.