Tuesday, December 17, 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.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, may be the result of sensory nerves in the face and neck trying to compensate for a reduction of input from the ear’s cochlea, new research shows.
The findings by University of Michigan Medical School researchers offer a new target for treating the condition. The team has a patent pending and device in development based on the approach.
Susan Shore, the senior author of the paper, explains that her team has confirmed that a process called stimulus-timing dependent multisensory plasticity is altered in animals with tinnitus—and that this plasticity is “exquisitely sensitive” to the timing of signals coming in to a key area of the brain. The findings are published online in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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