Systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of continuous subjective tinnitus on attention and habituation

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Background. Attention and habituation are two domains known to play key roles in the perception and maintenance of tinnitus. The heterogeneous nature of tinnitus and the methodologies adopted by various studies make it difficult to generalize findings. The current review aims at assessing and synthesizing evidence on the possible roles of attention and habituation in continuous subjective tinnitus. Methodology. The literature search included five databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Sciences, CINAHL and ProQuest) that resulted in 1,293 articles, published by July 2019. Studies on attention and/or habituation in individuals with tinnitus using either behavioural or electrophysiological tests were included in the review after a quality assessment. Results. Seventeen studies on attention in tinnitus were included in the narrative synthesis. Two meta-analyses were performed to assess the role of attention in tinnitus using a behavioural methodology (z = 4.06; p < 0.0001) and P300 amplitude (z = 2.70; p = 0.007) with 531 participants. With respect to habituation, the review indicates the lack of quality articles for habituation inclusion in the narrative synthesis. Conclusions. The review highlights that selective domains of attention were consistently impaired in individuals with tinnitus. Habituation, on the other hand, needs further exploration.



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