Patients with tinnitus and normal hearing constitute an important group, given that findings do not suffer influence of the hearing loss. However, this group is rarely studied, so we do not know whether its clinical characteristics and interference in daily life are the same of those of the patients with tinnitus and hearing loss.
Aim: To compare tinnitus characteristics and interference in daily life among patients with and without hearing loss.
Study design: Historic cohort.
Material and method: Among 744 tinnitus patients seen at a Tinnitus Clinic, 55 with normal audiometry were retrospectively evaluated. The control group consisted of 198 patients with tinnitus and hearing loss, following the same protocol. We analyzed the patients' data as well as the tinnitus characteristics and interference in daily life.
Results: The mean age of the studied group (43.1 +/- 13.4 years) was significantly lower than that of the control group (49.9 +/- 14.5 years). In both groups, tinnitus was predominant in women, bilateral, single tone and constant, but there were no differences between both groups. The interference in concentration and emotional status (25.5% and 36.4%) was significantly lower in the studied group than that of the control group (46% and 61.6%), but it did not happen in regard to interference over sleep and social life.
Conclusions: Patients with tinnitus and normal hearing showed similar characteristics when compared to those with hearing loss. However, the age of the patients and the interference over concentration and emotional status were significantly lower in this group.