Our aim was to analyze the influence of subtle cochlear damage on temporal auditory resolution in tinnitus patients. Forty-eight subjects (hearing threshold ≤25 dB HL) were assigned to one of two experimental groups: 28 without auditory complaints (mean age, 28.8 years) and 20 with tinnitus (mean age, 33.5 years). We analyzed distortion product otoacoustic emission growth functions (by threshold, slope, and estimated amplitude), extended high-frequency thresholds, and the Gaps-in-Noise test. There were differences between the groups, principally in the extended high-frequency thresholds and the Gaps-in-Noise test results. Our findings suggest that subtle peripheral hearing impairment affects temporal resolution in tinnitus, even when pure-tone thresholds as conventionally measured appear normal.

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