On sound and silence: Neurophysiological and behavioral consequences of acoustic trauma

Amarins Heeringa


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    Next to elevated hearing thresholds, noise exposure can also cause ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hyperacusis, a condition in which normal sounds are being perceived as too loud. At present there are no treatments available that consistently cure tinnitus and hyperacusis, partly because the underlying mechanisms of these conditions are not yet completely understood.

    In this dissertation, the neurophysiological consequences of acoustic trauma are studied. The balance between excitation and inhibition in the central auditory nervous system is disrupted as a result of acoustic trauma. In particular, a decreased inhibition in neurons that respond to frequencies below the trauma frequency are responsible for this. Further, acoustic trauma causes an increased amplification of the signal in the brain. This is both determined by measuring the auditory brain stem response as well as by measuring neural responses to amplitude modulated sound.

    The disrupted balance between excitation and inhibition, and the amplification of the signal in the brain may underlie neuropathology of tinnitus and hyperacusis. To investigate this, the present thesis describes a possible new method to demonstrate whether an animal experiences tinnitus or hyperacusis.

    These results could contribute to the development of an animal model in which a direct relationship can be established between the neurophysiological consequences of acoustic trauma and the presence of tinnitus or hyperacusis. Such an animal model can be used for the development of new treatments.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • van Dijk, Pim, Supervisor
    Datum van toekenning22-jun-2015
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-6295-211-9
    StatusPublished - 2015

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