Research gives new hope to tinnitus patients

February 5, 2014
Research gives new hope to tinnitus patients
Some tinnitus patients are able to live well with the condition while others struggle to cope.

A research project, led by the University of Liverpool and Aintree University Hospital, is giving new hope to patients living with tinnitus.

The condition, which causes one in 10 people in the UK to hear a constant noise in their ears or head, can cause distress to individuals of any age and affect sleep and concentration at work. Tinnitus, for which there is currently no cure, although there are effective management techniques, can lead to anxiety and depression in extreme cases.

How the brain reacts

The University and Aintree have now teamed up to try to gain a better understanding of how the brain reacts in different tinnitus patients.

The study, which is being led by Dr Vanessa Sluming, Senior Lecturer in Neuroimaging Science and Principal Investigator at the University, and Fahad Alhazmi, a PhD student, will investigate brain structure and function in people who have tinnitus and those who don't. The group with tinnitus will be a mix of people who find the condition irritating and those who don't.

A total of 90 volunteers, including patients from Aintree University Hospital, will take part in the study. The volunteers will undergo audiological testing and a functional MRI scan at MARIARC, the University's magnetic resonance image analysis research facility, during which they will be given different audio and visual prompts.

Dr Sluming, from the University's Institute of Translational Medicine, said: "In a room of tinnitus patients, you will find people who live well with the condition and others who struggle to cope, but there has never been a study to understand why this is.

"We want to know if there is a difference in the way their brains are reacting to what they hear as a result of their tinnitus. We can then work with our colleagues at Aintree to develop more targeted therapies which will help those who suffer the most."

New developments

Tony Kay, Head of Audiology Services at Aintree University Hospital, said: "I'm delighted to once again be working with our academic partners at the University. I hope this project will lead to new developments in the way we can help our patients live with tinnitus."

Previous research between Aintree and the University has been shortlisted for a prestigious Marie and Jack Shapiro prize by the British Tinnitus Association, which recognises research that is "most likely to result in improved treatment or awareness of tinnitus.

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said: "We welcome this new research, and hopefully it will lead to improved treatments to reduce the distress that some – but not all – people with experience."

Explore further: Bothersome tinnitus linked to neuroticism

Related Stories

Bothersome tinnitus linked to neuroticism

September 27, 2013
People with 'neurotic' tendencies are more likely to be troubled by their tinnitus, a new study involving researchers at The University of Nottingham, has found.

Study: Insomnia takes toll on tinnitus patients

April 19, 2012
For the more than 36 million people plagued by tinnitus, insomnia can have a negative effect on the condition, worsening the functional and emotional toll of chronic ringing, buzzing, hissing or clicking in the head and ears, ...

Tinnitus discovery opens door to possible new treatment avenues

December 16, 2013
For tens of millions of Americans, there's no such thing as the sound of silence. Instead, even in a quiet room, they hear a constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, humming or other noise in their ears that isn't real. Called ...

Trial results positive for tinnitus sufferers

November 21, 2013
UT Dallas researchers have demonstrated that treating tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, using vagus nerve stimulation-tone therapy is safe and brought significant improvement to some of the participants in a small clinical ...

Is magnetic therapy effective for tinnitus?

September 18, 2012
Loyola University Medical Center is studying whether a new form of non-invasive magnetic therapy can help people who suffer debilitating tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Recommended for you

Study uncovers specialized mouse neurons that play a unique role in pain

August 17, 2017
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have identified a class of sensory neurons (nerve cells that electrically send and receive messages between the body and brain) that can be activated by stimuli as precise ...

Scientists discover powerful potential pain reliever

August 16, 2017
A team of scientists led by chemists Stephen Martin and James Sahn at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered what they say is a powerful pain reliever that acts on a previously unknown pain pathway. The synthetic ...

Scientists use magnetic fields to remotely stimulate brain—and control body movements

August 16, 2017
Scientists have used magnetism to activate tiny groups of cells in the brain, inducing bodily movements that include running, rotating and losing control of the extremities—an achievement that could lead to advances in ...

Scientists give star treatment to lesser-known cells crucial for brain development

August 16, 2017
After decades of relative neglect, star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes are finally getting their due. To gather insight into a critical aspect of brain development, a team of scientists examined the maturation of astrocytes ...

The nerve-guiding 'labels' that may one day help re-establish broken nervous connections

August 16, 2017
Scientists have identified a large group of biological 'labels' that guide nerves to ensure they make the correct connections and control different parts of the body. Although their research was conducted with fruit flies, ...

Navigation and spatial memory—new brain region identified to be involved

August 16, 2017
Navigation in mammals including humans and rodents depends on specialized neural networks that encode the animal's location and trajectory in the environment, serving essentially as a GPS, findings that led to the 2014 Nobel ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

briley_susan
not rated yet Feb 06, 2014
This is exciting. I've been researching the different sounds of tinnitus and seeing how this relates to the different causes of tinnitus. Does anyone know when this research will be published?

I have learned that not all types of tinnitus are treatable and certain types require different treatment paths. I've also recently been experimenting with a few supplements, namely Lipoflavonoid and Tinniticil. Tinniticil is exciting because it aims to provide relief from all the major causes of tinnitus.
rspittman
not rated yet Feb 25, 2014
I struggle with the hissing torture. But I've found substantial relief with simple herbs and supplements, all of which are vascular dilators.

If any readers of this article are interested in what helps clear my ears, read all about it at Arrest Tinnitus, hosted by blogspot. I'm a criminal investigator, ergo the "Arrest" part of the title.

I just talk about what works, nothing to buy from me.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.