Send to

Choose Destination
Hear Res. 2009 Nov;257(1-2):63-74. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2009.08.005. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

The auditory midbrain of people with tinnitus: abnormal sound-evoked activity revisited.

Author information

Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Sound-evoked fMRI activation of the inferior colliculi (IC) was compared between tinnitus and non-tinnitus subjects matched in threshold (normal), age, depression, and anxiety. Subjects were stimulated with broadband sound in an "on/off" fMRI paradigm with and without on-going sound from the scanner coolant pump. (1) With pump sounds off, the tinnitus group showed greater stimulus-evoked activation of the IC than the non-tinnitus group, suggesting abnormal gain within the auditory pathway of tinnitus subjects. (2) Having pump sounds on reduced activation in the tinnitus, but not the non-tinnitus group. This result suggests response saturation in tinnitus subjects, possibly occurring because abnormal gain increased response amplitude to an upper limit. (3) In contrast to Melcher et al. (2000), the ratio of activation between right and left IC did not differ significantly between tinnitus and non-tinnitus subjects or in a manner dependent on tinnitus laterality. However, new data from subjects imaged previously by Melcher et al. suggest a possible tinnitus subgroup with abnormally asymmetric function of the IC. The present and previous data together suggest elevated responses to sound in the IC are common among those with tinnitus and normal thresholds, while abnormally asymmetric activation is not, even among those with lateralized tinnitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center