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Objective Measures of Tinnitus

a Systematic Review

Jackson, Richard; Vijendren, Ananth; Phillips, John

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002116

Background: The purpose of this review is to systematically appraise the English-language literature to identify methods of objectively diagnosing and measuring the severity of subjective idiopathic nonpulsatile tinnitus.

Materials and Methods: A systematic literature search was undertaken from the databases of MEDLINE (1946–May 2018), EMBASE (1980–May 2018), CINAHL (1981–May 2018), and BNI (1992–May 2018) according to predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: We identified 21 articles in this field. Reported objective tests include blood tests, electrophysiology measures, radiological measures, and balance tests. The overall quality of evidence was low, with most studies being low-powered.

Discussion: Our review has not identified any reliable or reproducible objective measures of tinnitus. However, this piece of work has highlighted emerging areas where further high quality research may lead to the development of an effective method for objectively identifying and measuring the severity of tinnitus.

Department of Otolaryngology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Richard Jackson, M.B.B.S., M.R.C.S.(ENT), D.O.H.N.S., Department of Otolaryngology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7UY, UK; E-mail:

J.P. has paid consultancies with Otonomy.

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

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