Tinnitus is a very frequent symptom affecting 10% of the general population. It corresponds to the perception of an internal noise that can severely impair the quality of life.
Tinnitus management requires a multidisciplinary approach in which neuromodulation and neurosurgery tend to play major roles.
Classification of tinnitus separates objective tinnitus (i.e., tinnitus that can be heard or recorded) from the more frequent subjective tinnitus (i.e., tinnitus only perceived by the patient).
Objective tinnitus is either pulsatile synchronous with heartbeat or asynchronous.
In the former, appropriate radiological testing should search for a vascular abnormality as well as other neurological diseases (intracranial hypertension, Arnold-Chiari malformation, vascular loops, etc.).
Asynchronous objective tinnitus generally corresponds to muscular contractions that require specific management.
The pathophysiology of subjective tinnitus is more complex, showing strong analogies with postamputation pain syndromes.
After peripheral middle ear or inner ear damage, auditory deafferentation could result in hyperactivity and/or functional reorganization within central auditory and nonauditory structures.
This could explain the persistence of tinnitus after total hearing amputation (e.g., translabyrinthine
approach for vestibular schwannoma) and associated symptoms such as hyperacusis or anxiety and depression.
This central model finds strong support in animal experiments and in functional neuroimagery (PET, fMRI, MEG). Since no etiologically based therapies are currently available, severe subjective tinnitus management only targets tinnitus tolerance with sound enrichment or cognitive behavior therapy.
However, in the near future better knowledge of tinnitus pathophysiology and innovative therapeutic tools could emerge from neuromodulation techniques such as repeated transcranial magnetic or epidural electric stimulation.
A. Londero a,∗,b, A. Chays c
a Service d’ORL et de chirurgie cervicofaciale, hôpital européen Georges-Pompidou, 20, rue Leblanc, 75908 Paris cedex 15, France
b UMR 7060, laboratoire de recherche sur les systèmes sensorimoteurs (LNRS), CNRS, faculté de médecine, université René-Descartes Paris-V, Paris, France
c Service d’ORL et de chirurgie cervicofaciale, hôpital Robert-Debré, CHU de Reims, avenue du Général-Koenig, 51092 Reims cedex, France
Fuente: Auris Nasus Larynx