Acoustic Measurements of Objective Tinnitus Ear canal sound pressure levels were measured from a 38-year-old woman who had experienced objective tinnitus in her right ear for approximately 2 years. The tinnitus sounded like a series of “sighs” that were synchronous with her pulse rate. Because the level of the tinnitus fluctuated in a pulsing manner, ... Research Note
Research Note  |   December 01, 1990
Acoustic Measurements of Objective Tinnitus
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Craig A. Champlin
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Stephen P. Muller
    Austin Regional Clinic
  • Stephen A. Mitchell
    Austin Regional Clinic
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Craig A. Champlin, Department of Speech Communication, University of Texas at Austin, Austin TX 78712.
Article Information
Research Note
Research Note   |   December 01, 1990
Acoustic Measurements of Objective Tinnitus
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1990, Vol. 33, 816-821. doi:10.1044/jshr.3304.816
History: Received January 17, 1990 , Accepted March 30, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1990, Vol. 33, 816-821. doi:10.1044/jshr.3304.816
History: Received January 17, 1990; Accepted March 30, 1990

Ear canal sound pressure levels were measured from a 38-year-old woman who had experienced objective tinnitus in her right ear for approximately 2 years. The tinnitus sounded like a series of “sighs” that were synchronous with her pulse rate. Because the level of the tinnitus fluctuated in a pulsing manner, it appeared to be of vascular origin. Psychoacoustically, the tinnitus behaved like a low-pass masker (cutoff frequency = 1.5 kHz) of about 40 dB SPL. This masking effect was manifested as a low-frequency hearing loss in the subject’s right ear. A miniature microphone system was used to monitor the tinnitus before, during, and after a jugular-vein ligation. Because the cause of the tinnitus was only generally known, acoustically monitoring the sound as the jugular vein and/or its tributaries were systematically clamped and then released enabled the site of generation to be known exactly. By monitoring the tinnitus during surgery, the effectiveness of the corrective procedure could be immediately evaluated. Hearing sensitivity in the affected ear returned to normal limits following the elimination of the tinnitus. One year after the surgery, the tinnitus was barely audible to the woman, but only when she positioned her head a specific way. The level of the tinnitus measured in this head-turned condition was markedly lower than the level obtained preoperatively.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The first author was supported by an NIH Individual National Research Service Award (NS 08003). The pre- and postoperative measurements were made in the Psychoacoustics Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. D. McFadden, R. C. Bilger, and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access