A recent study found that tinnitus affects virtually every area of the brain.
This is significant because it explains why brain stimulation and neurofeedback aren’t effective in curing tinnitus.
It’s commonly thought that tinnitus is caused by an underlying issue such as hearing loss, circulatory problems or ear injury.
Since there is no known cure for tinnitus the standard treatment is to treat the underlying issue to relieve the tinnitus symptoms.
This latest research was a collaboration by between, Will Sedley of Newcastle University and Phillip Gander of the University of Iowa.
They studied the brain activity of a 50 year old male volunteer who experiences tinnitus in both ears.
They monitored his brain activity when his tinnitus was at its worst and they found that when his tinnitus symptoms were pronounced his brain registered unusual activity that traveled to other parts of his brain.
This completely debunks earlier schools of thought that tinnitus was localized to one area of the brain.
According to Sedley, “We now know that tinnitus is represented very differently in the brain to normal sounds, even ones that
sound the same, and therefore these cannot necessarily be used as the basis for understanding tinnitus or targeting treatment,”
His partner Gander added, “The sheer amount of the brain across which the tinnitus network is present suggests that tinnitus may not simply ‘fill in’ the ‘gap’ left by hearing damage, but also actively infiltrates beyond this into wider brain systems,”
The researchers hope that these findings will enable researchers to focus in on different methods that will be more effective in treating, and possibly curing, tinnitus altogether.