Tinnitus and otoacoustic emissions: is there a link?

Ear Hear. 1990 Apr;11(2):159-66. doi: 10.1097/00003446-199004000-00011.


Attempts to identify the mechanisms underlying tinnitus and to develop effective treatments have been frustrating, in part because there are no objective measures of tinnitus. Following Kemp's initial reports of evoked and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), many people hoped that OAEs were an objective correlate of tinnitus. The results of several studies suggest that in about 6 to 12% of normal-hearing persons with tinnitus and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs), the SOAEs are at least partly responsible for the tinnitus. In addition, recent work indicates that some subjects with tinnitus display oscillating or ringing evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAEs). In these cases, it is hypothesized that the oscillating EOAEs and tinnitus are related to a common underlying pathology rather than the emissions being the source of the tinnitus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Audiometry, Evoked Response
  • Cochlea / physiopathology*
  • Cochlear Microphonic Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology*