Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, has no cure, treatments are not effective, and sadly, plagues many of our returning veterans. New research, however, is shedding light on the mechanisms of tinnitus and paving the way to better treatments.
Up until 20 years ago, tinnitus was thought to be located in the ear, but patients who lost hearing still reported the ringing, so the science turned to the brain. While the location of tinnitus in the brain is still not known, researchers have identified an neural network that becomes highly active with tinnitus. Most of the network makes sense as it involves areas of the brain responsible for emotions, arousal (yes, some people get aroused during the onset of tinnitus), and location of sound. What was surprising was the cerebellum, responsible for motor activities like balance and reaching for an item, was active as well leading researchers to believe it acts as a “gate” to bring the sound to the consciousness.
Click on the link below for more on the study.