book reviews

Tinnitus Books
Reviewed by: T.J. Nelson

Pathophysiology and Treatment
Berthold Langguth,
Göran Hajak,
Tobias Kleinjung,
Anthony T. Cacace, and
Aage R. Møller


A lthough this medical book elaborating the views of leading researchers on tinnitus is somewhat overpriced, it is a valuable source of up-to-date information for physicians, neurologists, and researchers about the physiology and potential treatments of tinnitus. Of course, with fifty chapters written by different authors, there is some overlap in the subject matter. Some articles digress far from the topic. Others repeat themselves, suggesting they were written in a hurry. Many were written by non-English speakers and have nonsensical sentences, misspelled drug names, and paragraphs that contradict themselves. But what's important is that the book contains excellent information about the latest theories as of 2007. This is not a book for the average patient; a background in neurophysiology and neuroanatomy is required to understand this material.

Textbook of Tinnitus

Møller, Langguth, DeRidder, and Kleinjung, eds. Springer, 2010

T his one has almost the same editors as Tinnitus: Pathophysiology and Treatment, but the 95 chapters by different authors present a more up-to-date view. The writing and the print quality are far superior to the older book, and there is even some evidence of proofreading, and some color illustrations, but with an average of only 8.06 pages per chapter, the discussion is unavoidably haphazard, disjointed, and sometimes superficial, not really what one expects from a "textbook." Tinnitus and hearing loss are inextricably linked, and focusing on one while downplaying the other, as some of the authors do, also shows that the field is in danger of developing tunnel vision (or should I say "a tin ear"). Nonetheless, there's a lot of information, including new theories about neural synchrony and even (finally) some recognition of an association between tinnitus and headache.

Theory and Management
edited by J. B. Snow

A nother book, Tinnitus: Theory and Management, edited by J. B. Snow (2004) is also excellent, but is out of print, and is generally readable by educated layman. Hopefully, BC Decker will produce a new edition. Chapter 9, "Somatic Tinnitus" by Robert A. Levine, is available as a sample chapter on the Internet. Most practicing physicians are unaware of the information in this excellent book. After reading it, it becomes clear that the situation for tinnitus sufferers is neither as bleak as your doctor would have you believe, nor as bright as some of the much lighter self-help books on the subject might imply.

Turning the Volume Down
Kevin Hogan

T his book was written by a psychologist who, perhaps not surprisingly, believes that tinnitus results from psychological problems, and says the way to eliminate tinnitus is to hypnotize yourself after buying the author's $200 self-hypnosis CDs.

This is not as crazy as it may sound. You might be able to hypnotize yourself into not caring about the noise. If your tinnitus is caused by muscle spasm, hypnosis might help you to relax, which could, in some people, cure the tinnitus. But a glass of wine and a comfy chair would be a lot cheaper and would probably work just as well. However, the idea that tinnitus can be cured by psychotherapy, which is advocated by Hogan's co-author in the preface, is just junk science. Although Hogan accurately summarizes most of the important facts about tinnitus, there are also a fair number of inaccurate statements, such as where he says "Almost all tinnitus is being generated in the auditory cortex in the brain" (p. 68) and later where he says it's rare for hearing loss to cause tinnitus.