Tinnitus is common: it affects about one in six adults at some time in their life.1,2 One-third of these consult a doctor but less than 1% say that they cannot lead a normal life. Tinnitus is almost always audible only to the patient (subjective tinnitus). It arises from damage to the auditory pathway, usually the cochlea; or from the use of many drugs particularly aspirin, chloroquine and quinine.3 Tinnitus which is audible to others (objective tinnitus) is usually clicking or pulsatile and may arise outside the auditory pathway (e.g. from palatal myoclonus4).
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