The Brain: "Ringing in the Ears" Actually Goes Much Deeper Than That

Discussion in 'Research News' started by Emil Mikalsen, May 22, 2014.

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    1. Emil Mikalsen
      Curious

      Emil Mikalsen Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      10.2013 - concert
      i found this on a site: "http://discovermagazine.com/2010/oct/26-ringing-in-the-ears-goes-much-deeper"

      Normally, we hear sounds only when they make our eardrums vibrate. The vibrations cause nerve hairs in the inner ear to shiver, and that triggers electric signals that travel along the auditory nerve into the brain. One of their first stops is a patch of gray matter called the auditory cortex. Each nerve hair is tuned to a particular frequency of sound and excites only certain neurons in the auditory cortex. As a result, the neurons in the auditory cortex form what is known as a tone map. The neurons at one end of the auditory cortex are tuned to low frequencies; the farther you go toward the other end, the higher the tuning of the neurons.

      This sound system comes with an elaborate feedback mechanism. Neurons do more than just relay signals forward into the brain. They also signal back down the line, reaching out to neighboring neurons tuned to nearby frequencies, exciting some and muzzling others. These feedback controls allow us to sift through incoming sounds for the most important information, so that we are not overwhelmed by meaningless noise. In young brains, the neurons and their feedback controls grow and link up to each other. Even in adulthood, experiencing new sounds can rewire the auditory cortex. If a rat is trained to recognize sounds at a particular frequency, the corresponding region of the tone map will get bigger.

      Tinnitus arises when this flexibility goes bad. Things may start to go awry when toxic drugs, loud noises, or even whiplash cause damage to the nerve hairs in the ears. The injured nerve hairs can no longer send signals from the ear to the tone map. Bereft of incoming signals, the neurons undergo a peculiar transformation: They start to eavesdrop on their neighbors, firing in response to other frequencies. They even start to fire sometimes without any incoming signals. As the brain’s feedback controls get rewired, the neurons end up in a self-sustaining loop, producing a constant ringing. That is why tinnitus often doesn’t go away when people get their auditory nerve surgically cut.
       
      • Informative Informative x 3
    2. gary
      Transparent

      gary Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      Hi Emil, thanks for the link. Ultimately we need a way to tap into the audio cortex and stop those phantom neurons from firing.....
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013
      They already found a way to do that....directly and indirectly! By stimulating the nucleus basalis (directly, rats only) or the vagus nerve (indirectly, human trials) they have a powerful tool to control cortical plasticity.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295231/
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24255953
      http://web.mit.edu/msur/www/publications/2012_ChenSugihara_etal.pdf

      They also found that frontal cortex can influence cortical plasticity (part of the brain that takes part in: reward, attention, short-term memory tasks, planning, and motivation)
      http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/46/18134.full

      And prefrontal cortex activity is at least partly responsible for maintaining the hyperactive network...:
      http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/7/80#B8


      BTW: the auditory cortex is more or less the last stop, not the first. I believe the Dorsal cochlear nucleus
      is the first stop. That is a very complex multi modal relay station. It is believed to be responsible for our ability to hear sound in "3D" e.g. find the location of a sound source.

      Anyway, I believe that targeted brain plasticity is the best change of a cure for this condition....
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 2
      • Like Like x 1
    4. lapidus

      lapidus Member

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Isnt this what Autifony aims to do? Stop those overactive neurons?
       
    5. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013
      They are also trying to reduce hyperactivity, but via a different route.
       
    6. Emil Mikalsen
      Curious

      Emil Mikalsen Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      10.2013 - concert
      I found this pretty interesting, it's weird how our ears/brain can make such sound. I sometimes listen to my T and think how weird it is and why is it there. :)
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    7. Leah

      Leah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chardon, Ohio USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Thanks for the information.
       
    8. Penelope33
      Torn

      Penelope33 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2013
      It's very strange, the noise I mean. But I suppose we are hearing our brains. What I've wondered is, is the noises always there, in the background with a trigger needed to make it tinnitus or do they fire up as tinnitus when a trigger is produced?
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    9. calin
      Inspired

      calin Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2011
      Is this the same for pulsing tinnitus?
       
    10. nogood
      Torn

      nogood Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ototoxicity/infection
      Usually pulsating T is caused by blood circulation issues and/or tumors. And for most of the people it syncs with there heart beat.
       
    11. calin
      Inspired

      calin Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2011
      I have no issues with either. Had an MRI. Mysterious.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    12. nogood
      Torn

      nogood Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ototoxicity/infection
      Mri doesn't always pick up everything sometimes they miss it or too small to get caught in the scan..Or might be an transient block which caused damage not necessarily in brain leaving behind a small scar in blood vessel.
      My best guess If the pulsating T syncs with your heart beat its definitely linked with blood circulation.
      In your case you can serapatase its an enzymes which helps eat away any blockages in blood vessels.
       
    13. calin
      Inspired

      calin Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2011
      Had my carotid arteries checked for blockage with ultra sound... very clear arteries. I was pleasantly surprised.

      I tried serrapeptase long ago... nada.

      Thank you for the suggestion though.
       
    14. Aeryes

      Aeryes Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2014

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