Hyperacusis is associated with smaller gray matter volumes in the supplementary motor area

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Abstract

Hyperacusis is a disorder in loudness perception characterized by increased sensitivity to ordinary environmental sounds and associated with otologic conditions, including hearing loss and tinnitus (the phantom perception of sound) as well as neurologic and neuropsychiatric conditions. Hyperacusis is believed to arise centrally in the brain; however, the underlying causes are unknown. To gain insight into differences in brain morphology associated with hyperacusis, we undertook a retrospective case-control study comparing whole-brain gray matter morphology in participants with sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus who either scored above or below the threshold for hyperacusis based on a standard questionnaire. We found that participants reporting hyperacusis had smaller gray matter volumes and cortical sheet thicknesses in the right supplementary motor area (SMA), independent of anxiety, depression, tinnitus burden, or sex. In fact, the right SMA volumes extracted from an independently defined volume of interest could accurately classify participants. Finally, in a subset of participants where functional data were also available, we found that individuals with hyperacusis showed increased sound-evoked responses in the right SMA compared to individuals without hyperacusis. Given the role of the SMA in initiating motion, these results suggest that in hyperacusis the SMA is involved in a motor response to sounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103425
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage. Clinical
Volume38
Early online date29-Apr-2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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