The feeling of ear fullness (FEF) occurs frequently in patients with acute sensorineural hearing loss; the same is true for tinnitus (TIN). However, the cause of FEF in these patients is unclear. This study included 171 ears of patients admitted with unilateral sudden deafness to the ENT division of Fukuoka University Hospital between January 2001 and December 2004. The results showed TIN was mainly associated with worse high-frequency hearing thresholds, where hearing loss was relatively severe, and this association became stronger after the hearing threshold stabilized. FEF was associated with the low-frequency region, where hearing loss was relatively mild, and this association disappeared after the hearing threshold stabilized. In conclusion, TIN is thought to originate in the region where hair cells are impaired; in contrast, FEF may originate from some functional factor rather than an organic lesion of the cochlea.
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