Explanation of Tinnitus Causes by Central Nervous System Problems

01 Sep Explanation of Tinnitus Causes by Central Nervous System Problems

There are neural generators of tinnitus that are central, even when there is a

peripheral cause. Contemporary views are such that patients with

tinnitus suffer an inability to laterally inhibit in the cortical

frequency areas that map or reflect the injury damage in the

periphery. The loss of inhibition really equates with an increase of

excitation in the brain in areas associated with the lesion’s targets.

These changes are plastic in nature resulting in changes in the

function of the brain specific to the auditory system with a resultant

mismatch of excitation and inhibition. Because the auditory system is

multisynaptic, there may be plastic changes in all areas of the

activating system from the VIIIth nerve to the cochlear nucleus and

inferior colliculus with mapping error and also in the thalamus,

auditory cortex and the limbic system. Each neuron in the auditory

pathways has a specific frequency that is characteristic to that

neuron. Humans have a unique tonotopic representation that is

facilitated by individual neurons who have a characteristic reaction

to a specific frequency of sound. When neurons are activated

tonitopically they process the activation to central structures that

also inhibit through lateral projections, other neurons that have a

different frequency characteristic.


Sorry for the technical language but it is a difficult and complex process your body uses!



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John Lieurance, DC, ND


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