Article on tinnitus (hope this is the right place to post)


Tinnitus mapped inside human brainBy Jonathan WebbScience reporter, BBC News

  • [FONT=inherit]23 April 2015
  • From the section[Science & Environment](
[/FONT] [IMG][/IMG][FONT=inherit]About 1% of adults in the UK have tinnitus that is severe enough to affect their quality of lifeFor the first time, signals relating to the constant ringing noise of tinnitus have been mapped across the brain of a patient undergoing surgery. In this rare case, a man with tinnitus was being monitored to trace his epileptic seizures, with 164 electrodes placed directly onto his brain. Researchers compared brain activity when his tinnitus was loud, with periods when it was quiet. They spotted differences spread over a surprisingly wide set of brain areas. The study [appears in the journal Current Biology]( Tinnitus, the constant presence of phantom sounds, affects around 10% of adults in the UK; for 1% it is severe enough to affect their quality of life. Often it takes the form of a ringing sound, but it can be anything from a roar to a hiss. In many cases it begins with partial hearing loss, sometimes due to loud noise wearing out the hair cells that convert sound waves into neural signals, inside the inner ear. The brain adjusts to that loss of input by boosting certain types of activity, creating the impression of a noise that nobody else can hear. Precious opportunityPrevious efforts to pinpoint those changes within the brain have used scanning techniques (such as [fMRI](, which are much less precise than the electrodes used in the new study. Others have used models of tinnitus in laboratory animals. Only one other team has recorded directly from inside the brain of a human tinnitus sufferer; [that study]( was part of an effort to treat tinnitus itself with surgery, and involved just four electrodes. These much more extensive recordings were a fortunate coincidence. "It is such a rarity that a person requiring invasive electrode monitoring for epilepsy also has tinnitus, that we aim to study every such person if they are willing," said Dr Phillip Gander, from the University of Iowa in the US. The patient concerned was a 50-year-old man with intractable epilepsy. To try and find the source of his seizures, electrodes were implanted across his left hemisphere for two weeks, ahead of surgery to try and eliminate them. [IMG][/IMG]Coloured circles show where the strength of various different rhythms of brain activity correlated with the strength of the tinnitus the patient was hearingAt the heart of the study is a method for manipulating tinnitus, called "residual inhibition". On 60 occasions over the course of two days, researchers played their subject a 30-second burst of noise on headphones. About half the time, the man's tinnitus - in his case a constant, high-pitched ringing - was quiet in the period immediately following the noise. "Once we had that contrast between the normal tinnitus and the suppressed tinnitus trials... we could compare the brain activity between those two states," said co-author William Sedley, a doctor and neuroscientist at Newcastle University. This comparison revealed traces of the tinnitus within the man's brain. Specifically, the researchers mapped out particular "oscillations" - rhythmic brain waves caused by many neurons firing in synchrony - that were linked to the tinnitus. "Rather than just a small area of auditory cortex... we found that these correlates of tinnitus were present throughout a huge proportion of the brain areas we sampled," Dr Sedley told BBC News. Revising strategiesSome earlier work has also suggested that a widespread network is involved in tinnitus, including brain areas outside those "auditory" sections that we know are involved in hearing. But this is the first time the abnormal activity of that network has been plotted in such detail. The scientists emphasised that this is only one tinnitus patient, and the condition can vary. "It would be nice to get a few more cases as they come along, if they do, to try and compare them and see commonalities and differences," Dr Sedley explained. But the confirmation of a broad pattern of underlying brain activity is important, he said. "A number of models - and therefore treatment approaches - have aimed to pinpoint a particular part of the auditory cortex, that relates to the frequency being heard, either by targeting it physically in the brain, or with sounds at that frequency. "But our results suggest that... it's a much wider part of the auditory cortex, and the brain, that's implicated in tinnitus, So these strategies might have to be revised or reconsidered a bit." [IMG][/IMG]Tinnitus often begins with hearing loss, caused by damage to hair cells in the inner earProf Andrew King, an auditory neuroscientist at Oxford University, said the results were a "huge step up" in terms of tracing the detailed underpinnings of tinnitus, particularly compared to brain imaging. But like the authors, he emphasised that this is a single case study and that tinnitus is "highly variable" between individuals. "There are a lot of animal studies which look at what happens to individual neurons... but human work has largely been limited to fMRI," he said. "So this provides a step in between. It provides much higher resolution information about the changes that take place in the brain - albeit of this one individual - whilst tinnitus is being perceived." Prof King agreed that the findings were a striking confirmation of the idea that tinnitus is not a simple product of changes within the hearing pathway. "In order to reach the level of conscious perception, there are other areas involved," he said.




Rather than start a new thread, I thought I’d resurrect this one and add a link to another recent publication on possible causes of tinnitus: quinine! What intrigued me to read further was a summary:

<<In our paper published in the journal Neurotoxicity Research in July 2018, my team and I examined chemical-induced tinnitus as a side effect of medication. Tinnitus patients who have chemical-induced tinnitus comprise a significant portion of all tinnitus sufferers, and approaching this type of tinnitus can help us to understand tinnitus in general.>>

I can date my own inception of tinnitus to age 14, after a bad cold that plugged up BOTH ears for a couple weeks. I was on Coricidin at the time, and that’s when the tinnitus began non-stop in both ears.

While not all of us take quinine for anti-malarial purposes, I’m heartened that research continues into ANY cause (and better yet - treatment!) for tinnitus.

I found this article at the Hearing Health Foundation. I get their monthly e-newsletter.



Again, I too don’t know if this is the proper place to reply, but…I have been diagnosed with hyperacusis. However, my new audi specializes in both tinnitus and hyperacusis (why I chose her). Turns out her treatment for both is the same–tinnitus retraining therapy!
A word first of explanation. I had been going to my previous audi for over 4 years as my hyperacusis steadily worsened and I complained steadily. First of all, she didn’t diagnosis it as hyperacusis, but tinnitus and all she would say was that the treatment was very expensive and only available in large cities.
My new, hometown audi, instantly diagnosed my problem and what’s more–turns out my OPN1s have a built-in tinnitus program which my previous audi (who sold me the HAs) obviously didn’t know about. My prescription was to gradually increase the volume of the music and TV I watched until it was 2 steps above comfortable and to use the tinnitus program (called T1) several hours a day as well.
The transformation in two months has been astounding! I am so much better. My wife no longer has to use plastic plates and forks/spoons for example. I no longer go out of my way to avoid children.
In summary, I can only second what has been recommended on this forum innumerable times–keep looking until you find a good audiologist!



^^^ Whoa! This sounds amazing! I had to google “hyperacusis” to find out it means that ordinary sounds can become intolerable. Often accompanies tinnitus even tho the underlying cause may differ. So far, I don’t seem to have hypercusis, but my tinnitus SURE hasn’t improved in the decades I’ve had it.

Did your prescription of volume and tinnitus program also help your tinnitus? It would seem counter-intuitive for an increase in volume to lower one’s ear-ringing … but I’d do anything to diminish my own 24x7 ringing.

It’s gotten to the point where I dread hearing music! Especially vocal music. I get an ear worm that can last WEEKS. Don’t ever put Shirley Bassey on if you’re prone to ear worms. I had her magnificent tunes ricocheting around my mind all last month. :grimacing: