Tinnitus and Its Relation to Emotion, Exercise

Husain, F. Hearing Journal. 69 (9). p 16

Tinnitus is a fairly prevalent hearing disorder, affecting 12 to 30 percent of the general population . But only a minority of these people report bothersome or distressing tinnitus. In the U.S., about 50 million people report to have tinnitus, but only 20 million seek medical treatment and 2 million experience day-to-day debilitation. Thus, it is important to distinguish between the perception of the tinnitus sound and an individual’s reaction to it.

Reaction to tinnitus sound is connected to a person’s emotional processing system, mostly instantiated in the brain’s limbic network . The limbic network, however, does not act alone, but interacts with other large-scale networks that mediate auditory processing, attention, and other cognitive processes. Such interaction is also reflected in the hearing, concentration or attention, and sleep problems reported by patients. Brain imaging studies have been instrumental in increasing our understanding of the role the emotional processing network plays in the reaction to the tinnitus sound.

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