General review of tinnitus: prevalence, mechanisms, effects, and management

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2005 Oct;48(5):1204-35. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2005/084).


Tinnitus is an increasing health concern across all strata of the general population. Although an abundant amount of literature has addressed the many facets of tinnitus, wide-ranging differences in professional beliefs and attitudes persist concerning its clinical management. These differences are detrimental to tinnitus patients because the management they receive is based primarily on individual opinion (which can be biased) rather than on medical consensus. It is thus vitally important for the tinnitus professional community to work together to achieve consensus. To that end, this article provides a broad-based review of what is presently known about tinnitus, including prevalence, associated factors, theories of pathophysiology, psychological effects, effects on disability and handicap, workers' compensation issues, clinical assessment, and various forms of treatment. This summary of fundamental information has relevance to both clinical and research arenas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Auditory Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Hearing Disorders / economics
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tinnitus* / epidemiology
  • Tinnitus* / etiology
  • Tinnitus* / psychology
  • Tinnitus* / therapy