Reduced Variability of Auditory Alpha Activity in Chronic Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Research News' started by jazz, Feb 23, 2015.

    1. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      This finding is important for all people who suffer from chronic tinnitus since auditory alpha has an inhibiting effect on the auditory cortex. In normal people, auditory alpha varies greatly; but, in tinnitus sufferers, this variability is reduced with the passage of time. This finding is important for neuromodulation treatments--like rTMS and neurofeedback--because relief from these modalities is affected by their ability to increase auditory alpha in tinnitus sufferers. Below are some excerpts (abstract and conclusion) and reference to the full, free study.

      Reduced Variability of Auditory Alpha Activity in Chronic Tinnitus

      Winfried Schlee, Martin Schecklmann, Astrid Lehner, Peter M. Kreuzer, Veronika Vielsmeier, Timm B. Poeppl, and Berthold Langguth
      Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany

      Received 3 February 2014; Revised 19 April 2014; Accepted 22 April 2014; Published 19 May 2014

      Subjective tinnitus is characterized by the conscious perception of a phantom sound which is usually more prominent under silence. Resting state recordings without any auditory stimulation demonstrated a decrease of cortical alpha activity in temporal areas of subjects with an ongoing tinnitus perception. This is often interpreted as an indicator for enhanced excitability of the auditory cortex in tinnitus. In this study we want to further investigate this effect by analysing the moment-to-moment variability of the alpha activity in temporal areas. Magnetoencephalographic resting state recordings of 21 tinnitus subjects and 21 healthy controls were analysed with respect to the mean and the variability of spectral power in the alpha frequency band over temporal areas. A significant decrease of auditory alpha activity was detected for the low alpha frequency band (8–10 Hz) but not for the upper alpha band (10–12 Hz). Furthermore, we found a significant decrease of alpha variability for the tinnitus group. This result was significant for the lower alpha frequency range and not significant for the upper alpha frequencies. Tinnitus subjects with a longer history of tinnitus showed less variability of their auditory alpha activity which might be an indicator for reduced adaptability of the auditory cortex in chronic tinnitus.

      The current study supports the idea of reduced auditory alpha activity in chronic tinnitus patients. Based on the concept that alpha activity reflects the level of inhibitory influence on sensory regions this finding can be interpreted as enhanced excitability of the auditory cortex in tinnitus. Furthermore, we showed that the auditory alpha activity in healthy controls is dynamic and varies within the range of seconds. The moment-to-moment variability of auditory alpha in tinnitus subjects is significantly reduced with a tendency that subjects with a longer tinnitus duration show less variability. This might be an indicator for reduced adaptive potential of the auditory cortex in tinnitus patients and—if confirmed by further studies—has important implications for understanding the pathophysiological underpinnings of tinnitus. Moreover, the reduced variability might represent a potential therapeutic target for neuromodulatory treatment approaches, for example, by auditory [45] or brain stimulation [46].​

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    2. HugoW

      HugoW Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      So... What is auditory alpha activity exactly?
    3. nills

      nills Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma

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