Tinnitus: from cortex to cochlea

Leontien Geven

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Tinnitus is known as “ringing in the ears”. Tinnitus is the perception of a meaningless sound without an external source. Tinnitus cannot be heard by others. Transient tinnitus is experienced by almost all adults at some point in their life. Tinnitus can also be permanent, which is the case in 8-20% of the general population. Up to 1-3% of the people with tinnitus are severely affected by it and seek medical attention.
    The pathophysiology of tinnitus is not known. Tinnitus is currently considered to involve central phenomenon in the brain including auditory areas, although some form of cochlear or hearing damage probably initiates the neuroplastic changes in the brain, that results in tinnitus.
    This thesis concerns the pathophysiology of tinnitus, with special emphasis on the efferent part of the central auditory system. The efferent auditory system runs from the auditory cortex to the cochlea, connecting all auditory regions along its path. Unfortunately, we did not discover the cause of tinnitus. However, we did find that the previously reported asymmetries in metabolism of auditory brain areas is also present in healthy people and that this is not associated with tinnitus. We tested the efferent auditory system at the level of the brain stem and did not find abnormalities in its functioning. To explore the complex system of the entire efferent auditory system we made several suggestions for future research to investigate the role of the efferent auditory system in the pathophysiology of tinnitus.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • van Dijk, Pim, Supervisor
    • van der Laan, Bernard, Supervisor
    • de Kleine, Emile, Co-supervisor
    Award date16-Apr-2014
    Place of Publication[s.l.]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-6821-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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