A new narrative has opposed the accepted theory and suggested that tinnitus is triggered by several parts of the brain and not just the part that recognizes sound. Conventional scientific theory proposes that tinnitus is the brain’s reaction to injury to the hair cells in the inner ear. Nonetheless, a new report in the journal Current Biology challenges this idea.
Phillip Gander of the University of Iowa according to the recently accepted theory: “We think it’s wrong, basically.”
Gander together with other Iowa scientists, examined the brain waves of a 50-year-old man, planted straight into his brain to decrease his epileptic seizures (after doctors cut a four-inch hole in his skull to implant said electrodes).
The results suggest that tinnitus might not sprout simply from a secluded defect in the auditory cortex- the part of the brain that recognizes sound.
“We found essentially that almost all the hearing parts of the brain are involved,” said Gander.
He added, “Including a number of other areas of the brain related to processing emotion and memory and attention.”
The researchers utilized loud sounds to destroy the man’s tinnitus.
They could figure out the brain waves connected with his tinnitus by observing the patient’s brain waves while his tinnitus was lively or silenced.
“That’s why our paper is a big deal for scientists,” Gander says. “We’re able to say what is specific to the tinnitus itself, as opposed to the distress or lapses of attention they might have because of their tinnitus.”
Gander emphasized that the results should be understood accordingly as it is only the first patient studied.
Gander’s finding might explain why the condition is so hard to treat.
“Maybe the reason tinnitus is so treatment-resistant,” Gander says, “is because it’s involved with so many parts of the brain. So any sort of treatment might not be able to knock out one area of that system. You might have to target all of them, which might be very difficult.”