Tinnitus is the perception of phantom sound in the absence of a corresponding external source. It is a highly prevalent disorder, and most cases are caused by cochlear injury that leads to peripheral deafferentation, which results in adaptive changes in the CNS. In this article we critically assess the recent neuroimaging studies in individuals with tinnitus that suggest that the disorder is accompanied by functional and structural brain abnormalities in distributed auditory and non-auditory brain regions. Moreover, we consider how the identification of the neuronal mechanisms underlying the different forms of tinnitus would benefit from larger studies, replication and comprehensive clinical assessment of patients.
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The authors are supported in part by the Tinnitus Research Initiative.
A.B.E. has received research funding from Merz. B.L. received honoraria for speaking and consultancy from Advanced Neuro Modulation, AstraZeneca, Autifony, Gerson Lehrman Group, Lundbeck, McKinsey, Merz, Magventure, Novartis, Neuromod Devices, Pfizer and Servier; received research funding from AstraZeneca, Cerbomed, Deymed, Magventure, Siemens and Otonomy; received travel and accommodation payments from the European Union (European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)), Lilly, Servier and Pfizer; and holds patents for the use of neuronavigation for transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of tinnitus. D.D.R. has received speaker's fees, travel and accommodation payments and research funding from St Jude Medical and holds intellectual property rights to different neurostimulation designs for implanted electrodes. A.B.E., B.L. and D.D.R. hold a patent for the use of cyclobenzaprine in tinnitus treatment. S.V. declares no competing interests.
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Elgoyhen, A., Langguth, B., De Ridder, D. et al. Tinnitus: perspectives from human neuroimaging. Nat Rev Neurosci 16, 632–642 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn4003
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