Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. Electronic address: .
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 39.21). 07/2013; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60142-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tinnitus is a common medical symptom that can be debilitating. Risk factors include hearing loss, ototoxic medication, head injury, and depression. At presentation, the possibilities of otological disease, anxiety, and depression should be considered. No effective drug treatments are available, although much research is underway into mechanisms and possible treatments. Surgical intervention for any otological pathology associated with tinnitus might be effective for that condition, but the tinnitus can persist. Available treatments include hearing aids when hearing loss is identified (even mild or unilateral), wide-band sound therapy, and counselling. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is indicated for some patients, but availability of tinnitus-specific CBT in the UK is poor. The evidence base is strongest for a combination of sound therapy and CBT-based counselling, although clinical trials are constrained by the heterogeneity of patients with tinnitus.

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    ABSTRACT: Sensorineural hearing loss induced by noise or ototoxic drug exposure reduces the neural activity transmitted from the cochlea to the central auditory system. Despite a reduced cochlear output, neural activity from more central auditory structures is paradoxically enhanced at suprathreshold intensities. This compensatory increase in the central auditory activity in response to the loss of sensory input is referred to as central gain enhancement. Enhanced central gain is hypothesized to be a potential mechanism that gives rise to hyperacusis and tinnitus, two debilitating auditory perceptual disorders that afflict millions of individuals. This review will examine the evidence for gain enhancement in the central auditory system in response to cochlear damage. Further, it will address the potential cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this enhancement and discuss the contribution of central gain enhancement to tinnitus and hyperacusis. Current evidence suggests that multiple mechanisms with distinct temporal and spectral profiles are likely to contribute to central gain enhancement. Dissecting the contributions of these different mechanisms at different levels of the central auditory system is essential for elucidating the role of central gain enhancement in tinnitus and hyperacusis and, most importantly, the development of novel treatments for these disorders.
    Frontiers in Neurology 10/2014; 5:206.
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    ABSTRACT: There is some debate as to what extent epidemiological data for the prevalence of childhood tinnitus can be relied on. While indications are that the prevalence is relatively high, referral numbers for children with tinnitus are reported to be low and many of the studies have a number of methodological difficulties. We describe the protocol of a systematic review aimed at assessing the prevalence of tinnitus and/or hyperacusis in children and young people. We will include studies of any design (except case reports or case series) comparing the prevalence of tinnitus and/or hyperacusis in children and young people with and without hearing loss, any known external exposure and psychological disorders. We will search the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE and Scopus. No restrictions of language will be applied in the search strategy but during the article selection language is limited to English, German and Scandinavian languages. Primary and additional outcomes will be the prevalence of tinnitus/hyperacusis and the severity, respectively. No ethical issues are foreseen. The results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at national and international conferences of audiology and paediatrics. This review protocol is registered in the PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, registration number CRD42014013456. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
    BMJ Open 01/2015; 5(1):e006649. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the use of electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate changes in oscillatory brain activity associated with tinnitus with many conflicting results. Current view of the underlying mechanism of tinnitus is that it results from changes in brain activity in various structures of the brain as a consequence of sensory deprivation. This in turn gives rise to increased spontaneous activity and/or synchrony in the auditory centers but also involves modulation from non-auditory processes from structures of the limbic and paralimbic system. Some of the neural changes associated with tinnitus may be assessed non-invasively in human beings with MEG and EEG (M/EEG) in ways, which are superior to animal studies and other non-invasive imaging techniques. However, both MEG and EEG have their limitations and research results can be misinterpreted without appropriate consideration of these limitations. In this article, I intend to provide a brief review of these techniques, describe what the recorded signals reflect in terms of the underlying neural activity, and their strengths and limitations. I also discuss some pertinent methodological issues involved in tinnitus-related studies and conclude with suggestions to minimize possible discrepancies between results. The overall message is that while MEG and EEG are extremely useful techniques, the interpretation of results from tinnitus studies requires much caution given the individual variability in oscillatory activity and the limits of these techniques.
    Frontiers in Neurology 11/2014; 5:228.