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Despite being described since ancient times, tinnitus remains one of the puzzles of the auditory system. Essentially, tinnitus can be defined as the conscious experience of sound without external cause, and it may be perceived as hissing, ringing, or buzzing. Less commonly, tinnitus can derive from sounds internally generated within the human body, such as otoacoustic emissions, contractions of the middle ear muscles, or the pulsing of blood flow. As described in this entry, the mechanisms underlying this common symptom are complex, and troublesome tinnitus involves both the traditional auditory system and also systems of emotion and reaction within the human brain. Effective therapy to inhibit tinnitus has eluded clinicians, and presently available therapeutic approaches involve counseling and sound therapy to reduce the distress associated ...

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