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      Tinnitus with a Normal Audiogram: Physiological Evidence for Hidden Hearing Loss and Computational Model

      brief-report

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      The Journal of Neuroscience

      Society for Neuroscience

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          Abstract

          Ever since Pliny the Elder coined the term tinnitus, the perception of sound in the absence of an external sound source has remained enigmatic. Traditional theories assume that tinnitus is triggered by cochlear damage, but many tinnitus patients present with a normal audiogram, i.e., with no direct signs of cochlear damage. Here, we report that in human subjects with tinnitus and a normal audiogram, auditory brainstem responses show a significantly reduced amplitude of the wave I potential (generated by primary auditory nerve fibers) but normal amplitudes of the more centrally generated wave V. This provides direct physiological evidence of “hidden hearing loss” that manifests as reduced neural output from the cochlea, and consequent renormalization of neuronal response magnitude within the brainstem. Employing an established computational model, we demonstrate how tinnitus could arise from a homeostatic response of neurons in the central auditory system to reduced auditory nerve input in the absence of elevated hearing thresholds.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Neurosci
          J. Neurosci
          jneuro
          jneurosci
          J. Neurosci
          The Journal of Neuroscience
          Society for Neuroscience
          0270-6474
          1529-2401
          21 September 2011
          : 31
          : 38
          : 13452-13457
          Affiliations
          University College London Ear Institute, London WC1X 8EE, United Kingdom
          Author notes
          Correspondence should be addressed to Roland Schaette, UCL Ear Institute, 332 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8EE, United Kingdom. r.schaette@ 123456ucl.ac.uk

          Author contributions: R.S. and D.M. designed research; R.S. performed research; R.S. analyzed data; R.S. and D.M. wrote the paper.

          Article
          PMC6623281 PMC6623281 6623281 3723302
          10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2156-11.2011
          6623281
          21940438
          Copyright © 2011 the authors 0270-6474/11/3113452-06$15.00/0
          Categories
          Brief Communications
          Custom metadata
          true
          neurobiology-of-disease

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