Dr. Arnaud Norena
UMR CNRS 7260, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France
The mechanisms of tinnitus
Tinnitus is a symptom that can result from many different causes. The tinnitus field is limited by the fact that it is unclear how much tinnitus sub-types exist and how to distinguish them. Nevertheless, tinnitus can be divided roughly into two broad sub-categories. Cochlear tinnitus are thought to result from an aberrant activity that is present as early as the cochlear nerve. This activity propagates all the way up to the auditory centers where it is associated to an auditory percept. Central tinnitus are supposed to result from the central plastic changes triggered by cochlear hearing loss. In this tinnitus sub-type, a reduced cochlear activity can be accompanied by central hyperactivity, i.e. the tinnitus-related neuronal activity. I will present a few possible tinnitus mechanisms and their clinical implications.