Tinnitus and quality of life following vestibular schwannoma surgery

Autores: Del Río L, Lassaletta L, Díaz-Anadón A, Alfonso C, Roda J.M., Gavilán J.

Department of Otolaryngology, La Paz University Hospital, Idipaz Research Institute, Madrid, Spain

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This study on patients undergoing surgery for vestibular schwannoma investigated tumour (i) the effect of pre-operative factors on tinnitus, (ii) the effect of translabyrinthine or hearing preservation surgical approaches on tinnitus, and (iii) the effect of postoperative tinnitus status on the patient's quality of life (QOL).

METHODOLOGY: Seventy-nine patients who underwent vestibular schwannoma (VS) excision between 2001 and 2005 were selected. Postoperative tinnitus status was evaluated using a standard questionnaire for tinnitus, and QOL was measured using the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI).

RESULTS: Overall, 58% of patients noted tinnitus before tumour removal. Pre-operative tinnitus was not associated with age, gender, tumour size, or hearing thresholds. The total percentage of patients suffering postoperative tinnitus was 64%. Hearing preservation approaches showed no difference in terms of changes in tinnitus compared to the translabyrinthine approach. Twenty-one patients (30%) reported better QOL, 40 patients (56%) reported worse QOL, and 10 patients (14%) reported the same QOL. A significant association was found between tinnitus worsening as measured by GBI score and QOL.

Most patients do not report significant changes in their tinnitus status after surgery. Tinnitus evolution is unpredictable and not related to the type of surgical approach. Thus, tinnitus should not be used as a criterion for selecting the surgical approach. Tinnitus worsening appears to influence QOL following surgery for VS.

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