Tinnitus Re: Engineering for the Sound of Silence Event as iCalendar


01 August 2017

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground floor seminar room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds St, Auckland Central

BRNZ_Grant Searchfield_2

 An ABI seminar by Dr Grant Searchfield, Director, Hearing and Tinnitus Clinic and Associate Professor, School of Population Health, University of Auckland

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the head or ears in the absence of a physical sound source.  It affects 6% of the general population and 13.5% of over 65s in NZ.  While for many it is a mild annoyance, for some it can have catastrophic effects on quality of life; disrupting sleep, concentration, hearing, memory and general well-being.  Although a rare occurrence, suicide has been attributed to tinnitus.   The physiological basis for tinnitus is uncertain but appears to arise from a cascade of neurophysiological events following cochlear (inner-ear) injury.  Potential mechanisms include failure of noise cancellation, lateral inhibition, increased gain, and synchronization of neural assemblies.  What is clear is that, as well as being initiated by bottom up sensory change, top down neuropsychological influences play a significant role in tinnitus severity.  To this point pharmacotherapy has largely failed as a tinnitus therapy, while magnetic and electrical non-invasive brain stimulation effects are too short-term to be clinically useful.  Cognitive behavioural therapy is effective in reducing an individual’s reaction to tinnitus, but does not remove the tinnitus sound.  Sound based therapies offer the most promise in eliminating or at least reducing the tinnitus percept.  Removing the peripheral drivers for tinnitus using hearing aids or masking of tinnitus is successful, but may be improved. Targeted sound therapies attempting to desynchronize, inhibit, or morph tinnitus are underdevelopment, as are games targeting the boundary between perception and reaction.   This talk will introduce some of the neurophysiological underpinnings of tinnitus and highlight technology driven treatments currently under development.