November 4, 2013: Tullio Phenomenon

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November 4, 2013

The Tullio phenomenon refers to increased sound sensitivity accompanied by vestibular and/or auditory manifestations. [1] Acoustic stimuli of low frequency may induce vertigo, disequilibrium and oscillopsia.  Patients may experience conductive hyperacusis and provide bizarre reports of autophonia, e.g., "I can hear my eyes moving." The Tullio phenomenon is usually due to superior semicircular canal dehiscence, a condition characterized by the formation of a third mobile window in the labyrinth. Other reported causes include perilymphatic fistula and an enlarged vestibular aqueduct. Pietro Tullio, an Italian physiologist, first described this phenomenon in 1929. [2]


  1. Kaski D, Davies R, Luxon L, Bronstein AM, Rudge P. The Tullio phenomenon: a neurologically neglected presentation. J Neurol 2012; 259: 4-21.
  2. Watson SR, Halmagyi GM, Colebatch JG. Vestibular hypersensitivity to sound (Tullio phenomenon): structural and functional assessment. Neurology 2000; 54: 722-728.

Submitted by: Elizabeth Foster, MBBS, BSc, and John Carmody, MRCPI, FRACP, Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, Australia  

Disclosure: Drs. Foster and Carmody report no disclosures.

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