Dorsal cochlear nucleus hyperactivity and tinnitus: are they related?

Am J Audiol. 2008 Dec;17(2):S148-61. doi: 10.1044/1059-0889(2008/08-0004). Epub 2008 Oct 31.


Purpose: Eight lines of evidence implicating the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) as a tinnitus contributing site are reviewed. We now expand the presentation of this model, elaborate on its essential details, and provide answers to commonly asked questions regarding its validity.

Conclusions: Over the past decade, numerous studies have converged to support the hypothesis that the DCN may be an important brain center in the generation and modulation of tinnitus. Although other auditory centers have been similarly implicated, the DCN deserves special emphasis because, as a primary acoustic nucleus, it occupies a potentially pivotal position in the hierarchy of functional processes leading to the emergence of tinnitus percepts. Moreover, because a great deal is known about the underlying cellular categories and the details of synaptic circuitry within the DCN, this brain center offers a potentially powerful model for probing mechanisms underlying tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Fatigue / physiology
  • Auditory Pathways / physiopathology
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology*