People with Tinnitus Process Emotions Differently from Their Peers, Researchers Report

Discussion in 'Research News' started by exodus, Jun 25, 2014.

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    1. exodus
      Cold

      exodus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008
      hi guys

      this might interest us :

      (Medical Xpress)—Patients with persistent ringing in the ears – a condition known as tinnitus – process emotions differently in the brain from those with normal hearing, researchers report in the journal Brain Research.


      Tinnitus afflicts 50 million people in the United States, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and causes those with the condition to hear noises that aren't really there. These phantom sounds are not speech, but rather whooshing noises, train whistles, cricket noises or whines. Their severity often varies day to day.

      University of Illinois speech and hearing science professor Fatima Husain, who led the study, said previous studies showed that tinnitus is associated with increased stress, anxiety, irritability and depression, all of which are affiliated with the brain's emotional processing systems.

      "Obviously, when you hear annoying noises constantly that you can't control, it may affect your emotional processing systems," Husain said. "But when I looked at experimental work done on tinnitus and emotional processing, especially brain imaging work, there hadn't been much research published."

      She decided to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans to better understand how tinnitus affects the brain's ability to process emotions. These scans show the areas of the brain that are active in response to stimulation, based upon blood flow to those areas.

      Three groups of participants were used in the study: people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and mild tinnitus; people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss without tinnitus; and a control group of age-matched people without hearing loss or tinnitus. Each person was put in an fMRI machine and listened to a standardized set of 30 pleasant, 30 unpleasant and 30 emotionally neutral sounds (for example, a baby laughing, a woman screaming and a water bottle opening). The participants pressed a button to categorize each sound as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.

      The tinnitus and normal-hearing groups responded more quickly to emotion-inducing sounds than to neutral sounds, while patients with hearing loss had a similar response time to each category of sound. Over all, the tinnitus group's reaction times were slower than the reaction times of those with normal hearing.

      Activity in the amygdala, a brain region associated with emotional processing, was lower in the tinnitus and hearing-loss patients than in people with normal hearing. Tinnitus patients also showed more activity than normal-hearing people in two other brain regions associated with emotion, the parahippocampus and the insula. The findings surprised Husain.

      "We thought that because people with tinnitus constantly hear a bothersome, unpleasant stimulus, they would have an even higher amount of activity in the amygdala when hearing these sounds, but it was lesser," she said. "Because they've had to adjust to the sound, some plasticity in the brain has occurred. They have had to reduce this amygdala activity and reroute it to other parts of the brain because the amygdala cannot be active all the time due to this annoying sound."

      Because of the sheer number of people who suffer from tinnitus in the United States, a group that includes many combat veterans, Husain hopes her group's future research will be able to increase tinnitus patients' quality of life.

      "It's a communication issue and a quality-of-life issue," she said. "We want to know how we can get better in the clinical realm. Audiologists and clinicians are aware that tinnitus affects emotional aspects, too, and we want to make them aware that these effects are occurring so they can better help their patients."

      the link

      http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-06-people-tinnitus-emotions-differently-peers.html
       
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    2. Jeff M.
      Cowabunga

      Jeff M. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      La Jolla, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct. 2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      Thanks Exodus!! I always like hearing about research aimed towards understanding T more, and it's affects on those who have it! Thanks for the post.

      Jeff

      :rockingbanana:
       
    3. Grace
      No Mood

      Grace Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/14/2013
      They want to increase our quality of life? Well thats what TRT is for.. Enough with the habiutation therapys and start researching more ways to actually treat the symptom itself! :)
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      @exodus Thank you for the article!:)

      I wonder how they ascertained mild tinnitus?

      I wonder if the tinnitus group had habituated. Researchers refer to people who've habituated as "compensated" tinnitus and those who have not as "decompensated." Given this distinction, I wonder if compensation results in down regulating the amygdala. If so, you are looking at a brain difference between compensated and decompensated tinnitus.

      But this is just speculation.
       
      • Creative Creative x 1
    5. Snake Plissken
      Crappy

      Snake Plissken Member

      Location:
      Chester
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/13
      Probably the TFI (Tinnitus Functional Index), a questionnaire used to gauge the severity of impact tinnitus has on a patient's life - tests like these are pretty well regarded and parralels exist for many psychiatric disorders, most notably depression.
       
    6. earsnothappy

      earsnothappy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2014
    7. Nate

      Nate Member Benefactor

      Location:
      MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1989
    8. Lorenzo74
      Mellow

      Lorenzo74 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
    9. Karl28
      Wishful

      Karl28 Member

      Location:
      Melbourne
      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 bad since 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music via headphones
      I kinda feel emotionally hardened from t
       
    10. Nick Pyzik
      Depressed

      Nick Pyzik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/23/15
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to in-ear headphones & playing in a band
      That's because Tinnitus is the outcome of damage to what allowed us to feel emotion. Our hearing auditory neurons. Our sense of "hearing" is routed not just to the auditory portion of our brain but through synaptic connections to other regions of the brain. It's how one truly experiences the world and when damaged, which I believe happens over ones life time. There's no way to notice a difference in your hearing with this damage. Dr. Charles Liberman of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary states, "you can lose up to 90% of your cochlear nerve fibers without a change in the ability to detect a tone in quiet."

      Article about Emotions influencing Learning and Processing from August 7th, 2015
      - http://neurosciencenews.com/learning-memory-emotion-limbic-system-2393/

      Our hearing involves emotions or better yet known as neurotransmitters that conduct the chemicals which we call emotions. It also holds key neurotransmitters to learning.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    11. jeannie
      Stressed

      jeannie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-induced, Ear Infection, Medication... Who knows?
      I know when my tinnitus is louder than usual especially in middle of my head I start getting more fidgety and nervous even more than usual...
       
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    12. Shark2k
      Fine

      Shark2k Member

      Location:
      Santa Cruz, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud music
      This is some interesting stuff. I can definitely relate. I had never considered the connection between the brain's emotional processing centers and T. But, it makes sense. Personally, I am a somewhat reserved person, emotionally. This part of my personality is likely rooted in early childhood lessons. Boys don't cry, etc.

      I am also a person whose T was never particularly bothersome. That is to say, although it was moderate to severe (that is, always present, and relatively loud), I had more or less habituated to it. When I did consciously hear it, it didn't really bother me, I would just sort of acknowledge it and move on.

      Anyway, regarding the different ways we process emotion. As I understand it, it is the primitive amygdala that initiates the processing of emotion. For some T sufferers, particularly those who are not very bothered by it, that emotional processing has been redirected to the frontal lobes. In my case, I am starting to put 2 and 2 together here. I have probably suppressed my own emotional processing from childhood conditioning, and moved it away from the amygdala to my frontal lobes, long before I got tinnitus. As my T developed, the amygdala may have just said "move along, nothing to see here."

      Interesting stuff! Unfortunately, my T has gotten worse recently, and I have not yet "habituated" to its higher volume/intensity. And that's why I have ended up here! I am intrigued by @I who love music's posts about the "back to silence" method, and am starting to do it...
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    13. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Good time to stop describing your T and sharpen your pencil !! Good luck.
       
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    14. Shark2k
      Fine

      Shark2k Member

      Location:
      Santa Cruz, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud music
      Thanks for the reminder to stop describing it. Part of the challenge for me, as I alluded to above, is that I am not very expressive, emotionally. I want to exclaim "I hear my tinnitus, and I feel <fill in the blank>" but I am still having a hard time filling in that blank! This journey may not only help me with the T itself, but with a much deeper issue that goes back even farther....
       
    15. Zorro!
      Wtf

      Zorro! Member

      I think Nick Pyzik is on the right track. What else can explain the severe emotional reaction that many people have when they first develop tinnitus and/or have spikes? It seems there is a new member to this site every single day who is experiencing extreme depression and anxiety. The auditory nerve (auditory neurons) clearly is (are) wired into the emotion areas of our brains.

      I myself notice a spike in my tinnitus, due to an emotional reaction, when I listen to my favorite band at a low volume. I had a DVD of them playing on my TV last week and afterwards my tinnitus had spiked quite a bit. Keep in mind I only had the TV on and not any external speakers. The TV wasn't any louder than it is for viewing of regular TV shows. The only difference between watching a DVD of my fave band verses watching a TV show was that I had an emotional, visceral reaction to the music DVD.

      Granted, that's just anecdotal evidence, but it's enough to convince me that the tinnitus I have isn't just something that happens in my inner ears. Now where is my Nobel prize? :D
       
      • Like Like x 1
    16. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      .......... like me, you may be surprised.
       
      • Like Like x 1

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