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Key Points Î Tinnitus is the perception of sound without an external source. Î More than 50 million people in the United States have reported experiencing tinnitus, resulting in an estimated prevalence of 10%-15% in adults. Î About 20% of adults who experience tinnitus will seek clinical intervention. Î The estimated prevalence in the United States of experiencing tinnitus at any time is 25.3% and experiencing frequent (almost always or at least once a day) tinnitus is 7.9%. Î Not a disease in and of itself, tinnitus is actually a symptom that can be associated with multiple causes and aggravating co-factors such as Meniere's disease, sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), otosclerosis, vascular tumor and vestibular schwannoma (VS). Î Patients with these identifiable and other causative diagnoses of secondary tinnitus are excluded from the management recommendations of this guideline. Table 1. Abbreviations and Definitions of Common Terms Term Definition Tinnitus e perception of sound when there is no external source of the sound. Primary tinnitus Tinnitus that is idiopathic a and may or may not be associated with SNHL. Secondary tinnitus Tinnitus that is associated with a specific underlying cause (other than SNHL) or an identifiable organic condition. Recent onset tinnitus <6 months in duration (as reported by the patient). Persistent tinnitus ≥6 months in duration. Bothersome tinnitus Distressed patient, impacted quality of life (QOL) b and/or functional health status. Patient is seeking active therapy and management strategies to alleviate tinnitus. Non-bothersome tinnitus Tinnitus that does not have a significant impact on a patient's QOL but may result in curiosity or concern about the cause or natural history and how it might progress or change. a e word idiopathic is used here to indicate that a cause other than SNHL is not identifiable. b Quality of life (QOL) is the degree to which persons perceive themselves able to function physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or socially.

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