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International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology

Print version ISSN 1809-9777


SANTOS, Rosa Maria Rodrigues dos; SANCHEZ, Tanit Ganz; BENTO, Ricardo Ferreira  and  LUCIA, Mara Cristina Souza de. Auditory hallucinations in tinnitus patients: emotional relationships and depression. Int. Arch. Otorhinolaryngol. [online]. 2012, vol.16, n.3, pp.322-327. ISSN 1809-9777.

INTRODUCTION: Over the last few years, our Tinnitus Research Group has identified an increasing number of patients with tinnitus who also complained of repeated perception of complex sounds, such as music and voices. Such hallucinatory phenomena motivated us to study their possible relation to the patients' psyches. AIMS: To assess whether hallucinatory phenomena were related to the patients' psychosis and/or depression, and clarify their content and function in the patients' psyches. METHOD: Ten subjects (8 women; mean age = 65.7 years) were selected by otolaryngologists and evaluated by the same psychologists through semi-structured interviews, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and psychoanalysis interviews. RESULTS: We found no association between auditory hallucinations and psychosis; instead, this phenomenon was associated with depressive aspects. The patients' discourse revealed that hallucinatory phenomena played unconscious roles in their emotional life. In all cases, there was a remarkable and strong tendency to recall/repeat unpleasant facts/situations, which tended to exacerbate the distress caused by the tinnitus and hallucinatory phenomena and worsen depressive aspects. CONCLUSIONS: There is an important relationship between tinnitus, hallucinatory phenomena, and depression based on persistent recall of facts/situations leading to psychic distress. The knowledge of such findings represents a further step towards the need to adapt the treatment of this particular subgroup of tinnitus patients through interdisciplinary teamwork. Prospective.

Keywords : hallucinations; tinnitus; depression.

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