Chronic tinnitus as phantom auditory pain

Robert L. Folmer, Susan Griest, William Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To investigate similarities between patients who experience chronic tinnitus or pain and to formulate treatment strategies that are likely to be effective for patients who experience phantom auditory pain. STUDY DESIGN: A total of 160 patients rated the severity and loudness of their tinnitus and completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and an abbreviated version of the Beck Depression Inventory (aBDI). Patients received counseling, audiometric testing, and matched the loudness of their tinnitus to sounds played through headphones. SETTING: A specialized tinnitus clinic within an urban medical center. RESULTS: Tinnitus severity was highly correlated with patients' degree of sleep disturbance, STAI, and aBDI scores. The self-rated (on a 1-to-10 scale) -but not the matched - loudness of tinnitus was correlated with tinnitus severity, sleep disturbance, STAI, and aBDI scores. CONCLUSIONS: The severity of chronic tinnitus is correlated with the severity of insomnia, anxiety, and depression. These relationships are the same for many patients with chronic pain. Treatment recommendations are discussed in reference to these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-400
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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