Tinnitus Impacts Our Emotions

July 24, 2022

Tinnitus Impacts The Way Our Brain Processes Emotions

Tinnitus Impacts Our Emotions

Tinnitus is a condition that causes phantom sounds. These can ranging from an annoying ringing in the ears up to a loud, debilitating, roaring. There are over 50 million people who suffer from some level of tinnitus. So tinnitus impacts our emotions in various ways.

In addition, tinnitus also commonly leads to other issues such as high stress levels, irritability, anxiety, and depression. 

And a recent study has found that tinnitus can actually alter the way your mind processes emotions. To read more about this study please see: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625184901.htm

Tinnitus Impacts MRI Scans of Brain Activity

A science Professor Fatima Husain, used MRI brain scans to learn how tinnitus affects the way the brain processes emotions.

An MRI can show which areas of the brain respond to certain stimulation based on blood flow to that part of the brain.

The study took 3 different groups. One group had mild to moderate hearing loss with mild tinnitus. The second group had mild to moderate hearing loss without tinnitus. The third group were in the same age range as the other two groups but had no hearing loss and no tinnitus.

The participants were put in an MRI while listening to different sounds. These sounds were divided into pleasant, unpleasant and neutral.

After listening to a sound, the participants would press a button to categorise that sound as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.

Tinnitus Impacts Brain Activity

The normal hearing group and the group with tinnitus had a quicker response time to sounds that produced emotion. These responses were either pleasant or unpleasant, but were slower to respond to neutral sounds. The group with hearing loss, but no tinnitus, had similar response times to all categories of sound.

Results of the Research

The overall results showed that those people impacted with tinnitus had slower reaction times than the normal hearing group of participants.

The group with tinnitus and hearing loss had less activity in the area of the brain that processes emotions (The Amygdala), Compared to those people without any hearing loss or tinnitus.

According to Husain, “Because they’ve had to adjust to the sound, some plasticity in the brain has occurred. So they have had to reduce this amygdala activity and reroute it to other parts of the brain. This is because the amygdala cannot be active all the time due to this annoying sound.”

If you or a loved on are experiencing the impacts of tinnitus it is best to book in for a hearing and tinnitus assessment. Simply call 1800 020 406 or fill in our online booking form: https://harmonyhearing.com.au/book-an-appointment/

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