The neuroscience of tinnitus

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Nov;27(11):676-82. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.08.010.


Tinnitus is an auditory phantom sensation (ringing of the ears) experienced when no external sound is present. Most but not all cases are associated with hearing loss induced by noise exposure or aging. Neuroscience research has begun to reveal how tinnitus is generated by the brain when hearing loss occurs, and to suggest new avenues for management and prevention of tinnitus following hearing injuries. Downregulation of intracortical inhibition induced by damage to the cochlea or to auditory projection pathways highlights neural processes that underlie the sensation of phantom sound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology*
  • Tinnitus / therapy