“Ringing in the Ears” actually goes much deeper than that

Tinnitus is a fascinating and challenging condition to live with. Many scientists in the neuromusical field suffer from tinnitus, so they have a vested interest in studying it. The reason why it is so fascinating is that it seems to have no point of origin or malfunctioning area, it is a disease that stretches across the brain. “Tinnitus, in other words, extends beyond the ear, beyond a hearing-specialized part of the brain, beyond even any single piece of neural real estate. It is a disease of networks that span the brain.”

It has been established so far that there isn’t actually a sound, but the brain might get confused and think there should be a sound. There have been a number of experiments which have helped train the brain not to activate this extra sound and the tinnitus just goes away. In this quite descriptive article, there is a good example of how a serendipitous moment might have helped scientists understand how to trick tinnitus into going away. “Schlee’s results suggest that the higher regions of the brain send their own feedback to the auditory cortex, amplifying its false signals. Schlee’s model of tinnitus and consciousness could explain some curious observations. Even in bad cases of tinnitus, people can become unaware of the phantom sound if they are distracted. It may be that distractions deprive the errant signals from the auditory cortex of the attention they need to cause real distress. What’s more, some of the most effective treatments for tinnitus appear to work by altering the behaviour of the front of the brain.”

Read more here

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