Imaging Tinnitus Activity in the Brain The phantom sound of tinnitus was originally thought to arise from hyperactivity in the auditory nerve evoked by cochlear damage. However, the fact that tinnitus typically persisted after the auditory nerve was surgically sectioned led to speculation that tinnitus might be generated in the central auditory pathway. We used positron ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2010
Imaging Tinnitus Activity in the Brain
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Richard Salvi
    Center for Hearing & Deafness, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • Edward Lobarinas
    Center for Hearing & Deafness, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • Wei Sun
    Center for Hearing & Deafness, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Articles
Article   |   February 01, 2010
Imaging Tinnitus Activity in the Brain
SIG 6 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics, February 2010, Vol. 14, 21-27. doi:10.1044/hhd14.1.21
SIG 6 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics, February 2010, Vol. 14, 21-27. doi:10.1044/hhd14.1.21
Abstract

The phantom sound of tinnitus was originally thought to arise from hyperactivity in the auditory nerve evoked by cochlear damage. However, the fact that tinnitus typically persisted after the auditory nerve was surgically sectioned led to speculation that tinnitus might be generated in the central auditory pathway. We used positron emission tomography and radiolabeled water to measure brain activity associated with tinnitus in patients who could voluntarily modulate the loudness of their tinnitus with lateral eye gaze or oral-facial maneuvers. In acoustic neuroma, lateral eye gaze evoked changes in tinnitus loudness that were associated with activity in either the auditory lateral pontine tegmentum or the superior temporal gyrus and angular gyrus. In patients who could modulate the tinnitus with an oral facial maneuver, changes in tinnitus were associated with activity in the left auditory cortex (Brodmann area 21, 41), right thalamus near the medial geniculate, and in limbic regions of the brain associated with memory and emotion. The application of functional imaging techniques to patients who could modulate their tinnitus has led to major advances in objectively measuring the neural structures involved in the perception of the phantom sound of tinnitus.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part from grants the American Tinnitus Association (EL), NIH (R01DC00909101, 1R01DC009219-01, RS) and the Tinnitus Research Initiative (RS, EL)
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