Ringing ears light up the brain’s emotion center

People with tinnitus “hear” ringing, buzzing, or hissing in their ears much like an amputee might “feel” pain in a missing limb. While exposure to loud noise may contribute, some cases have no apparent trigger.

Though it’s not known yet exactly where and how tinnitus occurs in the brain, says Richard Salvi, director of the Center for Hearing and Deafness at the University at Buffalo, functional MRI studies with rats show the abnormal activity underlying tinnitus and a related condition called hyperacusis isn’t confined to a specific brain location, but actually involves a neural network.

Salvi and colleagues induced tinnitus in rats by administering the active ingredient in aspirin, which has long been known to produce tinnitus and hyperacusis symptoms in humans.

“Certain brain regions become very active once tinnitus is induced, much more so than it is for an animal with normal hearing,” says Salvi, one of the authors of the study published in the journal eLife. “Even though high-dose aspirin induces a hearing loss and less information is being sent from the ear to the brain as a result, the brain responds with greater activity.

“It’s paradoxical, like a car getting better gas mileage with a less efficient engine.”

Fight or flight

Tracing the neural network’s course, the investigators identified a major hub within the central auditory pathway, the sound processing center of the brain.

“Other research has shown this activity, but what is novel about the current study is the amygdala pops up. This is the part of the brain that assigns emotion to our perceptions,” says Salvi. “Many patients report the onset of tinnitus after experiencing significant stress or anxiety.

“We think it’s not just the hearing loss that’s essential. There are other emotional factors working together with the auditory factors.”

The reticular formation, an arousal center involved in the “fight or flight” response is active too, plus the hippocampus, the memory region of the brain that helps identify where things are located, such as the location of the phantom sound.

‘We were shocked’

So the auditory system is connecting sound to a location, the ear in this case. There is emotion and arousal, but the final puzzling piece to the network is activity in the cerebellum, normally activated during motor planning events like reaching for a cup or catching a ball.

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“We were shocked when this part of the brain popped up,” says Salvi. “Almost all parts of the network can be explained: location of sound; the emotional attachment; why people get aroused when they have tinnitus; we’re puzzled by the cerebellum involvement, but it might act like some kind of “gate” that’s allowing the phantom sound to enter the consciousness,” says Salvi.

The findings could lead to a testable model that helps to identify what region or regions of the brain might be responsible for causing the two conditions.

Having conceptualized a broader, more comprehensive neural network, the researchers hope to eventually test the model by deactivating specific segments of the neural network. By process of elimination they would learn if shutting down one part of that network relieves tinnitus, hyperacusis, or both conditions.

Researchers from Southeast University in Nanjing, China, and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, collaborated on the project.

Source: University at Buffalo

Article source: http://www.futurity.org/ringing-ears-tinnitus-brain_920882/

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Breakthrough in tinnitus research could lead to testable model

Breakthrough in tinnitus research could lead to testable model

Research by Richard Salvi and colleagues in China and Canada may provide insights into how tinnitus may develop and be sustained.

Tinnitus is the most common service-related disability for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Often described as a ringing in the ears, more than 1.5 million former service members, one out of every two combat veterans, report having this sometimes debilitating condition, resulting in more than $ 2 billion dollars in annual disability payments by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tinnitus is largely a mystery, a phantom sound heard in the absence of actual sound. Tinnitus patients “hear” ringing, buzzing or hissing in their ears much like an amputee might “feel” pain in a missing limb. It is a symptom, not a disease, and though exposure to loud noise may cause it, some cases have no apparent trigger.

Existing treatments, meantime, are unreliable, either not working at all or varying greatly in effectiveness for those who report some relief.

But a global research effort involving investigators from the University at Buffalo; Southeast University in Nanjing, China; and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, have made a major breakthrough that provides new insights into how tinnitus, and the often co-occurring hyperacusis, a condition that causes sounds to be perceived as intolerably loud, might develop and be sustained.

The results of the study, to be published in a forthcoming edition of eLife, suggest the neural network responsible is more expansive than previously thought. The findings could lead to a testable model that helps to identify what region or regions of the might be responsible for causing the two conditions.Having conceptualized a broader, more comprehensive neural network, the researchers hope to eventually test the model by deactivating specific segments of the neural network. By process of elimination they would learn if shutting down one part of that network relieves tinnitus, hyperacusis or both conditions.

Until the mid-1990s, tinnitus was thought to be centered in the ear, but patients who lost their hearing on one side after a surgical tumor removal unrelated to the condition reported still hearing a ringing—in their deaf ear.”This changed the thinking in the field,” says Richard Salvi, director of UB’s Center for Hearing and Deafness, and one of the study’s authors. “Having severed the neural connection between the ear and the brain, it’s impossible for the phantom sound to be generated in the ear. It has to be generated in the brain.”

Though it’s not known yet exactly where and how tinnitus occurs in the brain, Salvi says their functional MRI studies show the abnormal activity underlying tinnitus and hyperacusis isn’t confined to a specific brain location, but actually involves a . Unlike traditional MRIs, which show only structure, functional MRIs show what parts of the structure are active at a given time while functional connectivity MRI reveals how one part of the brain interacts with other regions, much like partners would interact on a dance floor, explains Yu-Chen Chen, a radiologist at Southeast University and one of the study’s co-authors.


The researchers induced tinnitus in rats by administering the active ingredient in aspirin, which has long been known to produce tinnitus and hyperacusis symptoms in humans.”Certain brain regions become very active once tinnitus is induced, much more so than it is for an animal with normal hearing,” says Salvi. “Even though high-dose aspirin induces a hearing loss and less information is being sent from the ear to the brain as a result, the brain responds with greater activity. It’s paradoxical, like a car getting better gas mileage with a less efficient engine.”

Tracing the network’s course, the investigators identified a major hub within the central auditory pathway, the sound processing center of the brain. “Other research has shown this activity, but what is novel about the current study is the amygdala pops up. This is the part of the brain that assigns emotion to our perceptions,” says Salvi. “Many patients report the onset of tinnitus after experiencing significant stress or anxiety. We think it’s not just the that’s essential. There are other emotional factors working together with the auditory factors.”

The reticular formation, an arousal center involved in the “fight or flight” response is active too, plus the hippocampus, the memory region of the brain that helps identify where things are located, such as the location of the phantom sound.

So the auditory system is connecting sound to a location, the ear in this case. There is emotion and arousal, but the final puzzling piece to the network is activity in the cerebellum, normally activated during motor planning events like reaching for a cup or catching a ball.”We were shocked when this part of the brain popped up,” says Salvi. “Almost all parts of the network can be explained: location of sound; the emotional attachment; why people get aroused when they have ; we’re puzzled by the cerebellum involvement, but it might act like some kind of “gate” that’s allowing the phantom sound to enter the consciousness,” says Salvi.

Article source: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-breakthrough-tinnitus-testable.html

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I Got An Apple Watch And My Hearing Aids Love It!

Mark 4:9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

I have been hearing impaired since I lost most of the hearing in my left ear from a brain tumor in 1997. I started wearing a hearing aid in that ear shortly after healing from surgery.

Since then, the hearing in my right ear has been gradually going downhill also. Being a firefighter, having decent hearing and being able to localize sound is a very important aspect of the job. Having four kids, it’s also helpful to hear what’s going on. Knowing that I was rapidly losing my hearing in my “good” ear was something that I was starting to come to grips with.

As the years passed, my audiologist and I closely monitored the hearing levels in my right ear to see how quickly I was losing the hearing. We were also monitoring the latest technology in hearing aids.

During one of the follow up tests, she asked me if I had an iPhone. Thinking that it was an odd question for my audiologist to ask me, I said, “Yes, why do you ask?” Well, it turns out that my hearing aid company, ReSound, was working with Apple in developing a hearing aid that Bluetooths with the iPhone.

So, as time progressed, the magic moment finally arrived. I was fitted for the ReSound LiNX hearing aid that was made for the iPhone. To say that this hearing aid was a game changer would be putting it lightly. To be able to Bluetooth through my hearing aids is amazing.

I can answer the phone, listen to music, and a host of many other things through the phone that I wasn’t able to do before.

I was also able to use a ReSound app on my iPhone to adjust the volume and a few other things that I wasn’t able to do before. I didn’t think things could get much better in the hearing aid world. I was wrong.

Say hello to the Apple Watch and the new ReSound LiNX2!!!

Let me start by saying that I am not normally a watch wearer. That being said, when I was told that ReSound was coming out with a new ReSound LiNX2 and you could change programs and settings from the Apple Watch and I had the opportunity to try them, I was interested and jumped at the chance.

I am usually skeptical of new devices, especially ones that I don’t normally use, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the Apple Watch. I am not going to focus on the millions of things you can do and see on the watch but just discuss how it relates to my hearing aids.

Through the Apple Watch, I’m able to adjust the settings on my smart hearing aids right from my wrist, allowing me to change the settings depending on the sound environment that I am in. This has truly allowed me to have some control of something that I had very minimal control over before.

The watch is kind of like a remote control for the some of the features on the phone. I know that people are going to think, “How hard is it to take the phone out of your pocket and change the settings?” and that is an understandable question. The truth is that it’s not hard to take the phone out and change the settings but the ReSound app on the watch sure does make it a lot easier to change them. This might not seem like a big deal but it truly is the difference between me changing the settings for different environments and not changing them because sometimes it is disruptive to take out your phone.

There are some really cool features on these new hearing aids that can be controlled through the watch (yes, they can be controlled by the app on the phone too but we are talking convenience here):

Blocking out wind noise: If you wear hearing aids, you’ll know how awesome this is.

Restaurant Setting: It actually allows the user to almost use tunnel-vision type hearing to block out surrounding noise.

Bluetooth: Wireless technology that allows me to use my hearing aids with the phone without putting the phone to my ear.  I cannot stress enough how awesome this feature is. Talk about modern technology being used to help.

There are many other cool things but those are the three that stick out the most. I recently had the opportunity to go to New York to be interviewed by CNN and Popular Science magazine to discuss the ReSound LiNX2 hearing aids and the Apple Watch. You can see the CNN interview here:  Apple Watch App Controls Hearing Aids

Here are some pictures of the trip to New York and the ReSound app on the watch. What a great time it was. I love talking about these hearing aids. It has made such a difference in my life.

PopSci IMG_1648 Watchprograms Watch wind

I know there is a stigma to wearing hearing aids (See below comments about stupid “What or Huh” jokes). I hope that people with hearing loss can get past that stigma and give these hearing aids a chance. It could truly change their life.

God has blessed me with so much. Sure, being hard of hearing comes with its own level of struggles but there are many bright, shining moments related to this too. I’m thankful that technology has opened up avenues for me to be able to hear more than I did before. Is it perfect? No it’s not, but it truly is amazing what hearing aids and a watch have managed to improve in my life. I am truly grateful for all of these things.

***A public service announcement from the hearing impaired: I can’t even count how many times when the topic of hearing loss comes up, that someone says “What???” as if it’s the funniest thing they have ever said. Let me save everyone some time: Nobody that is hearing impaired finds that joke funny in the least bit. In fact, it’s actually quite insulting. You wouldn’t say, “How many fingers am I holding up?” to a blind man so don’t make “Huh?” jokes to someone who’s hard of hearing.***

 

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Steve DeLuca is a 12-year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, acoustic neuroma brain tumor survivor, 22-time marathon finisher, 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finisher, happily married father of 4, and a follower of Jesus. Not all in that order.

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Article source: http://www.chicagonow.com/god-running-partner/2015/05/i-got-an-apple-watch-and-my-hearing-aids-love-it/

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Justin Osmond completes 250 mile run from Ephraim to St. George

ST GEORGE (ABC 4 Utah) – Justin Osmond is a man of many talents but on May 9th, he achieved the biggest victory of his life. Over the past 8 days, Osmond ran 250 miles from Ephraim to St. George at a pace of 37 miles on each day.

“It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been through. I’ve never had so much pain, I’ve never had so many aches in my body,” Osmond told ABC4′s Tasmin Mahfuz.

Osmond’s trek started on May 2nd near his home in Ephraim. His wife Kristi documented the journey and posted updates on their Facebook page, Run4Hearing.

“It was snowing.. it was blowing.. it was freezing cold, but I had to keep moving,” Osmond explained.

From heavy rain to snow, every mile tested Osmond’s mind, body and spirit. Osmond even ran up a 10-mile high mountain.

“I just kept looking down and kept going. After 3-4 hours, I realized I was at the top,” he said.

Osmond’s family followed him in an RV and he said he was grateful for their encouragement. Osmond also had supporters greet him on the way.

You’re probably wondering why anyone would ever want to run 250 miles in the rain, wind and snow?

Osmond’s sole motivation was to raise awareness for deaf children in Washington County. Hearing loss runs in the Osmond family but he’s the only 2nd generation Osmond who is hearing impaired. Osmond is 90% deaf.

The family started the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund in honor of Justin’s grandmother who has always wanted to help the hearing impaired. Through the fund, they have provided thousands of hearing aids to the hearing impaired around the world.

Justin chose this week to run because May 2nd was her birthday and May 9 marked the the day she passed away.

At the finish line, Osmond burst into tears. It was an emotional end to the long journey. Osmond had been training for the past 9 months for the final run.

Osmond’s famous aunt, Marie Osmond, also came from Las Vegas to show her support and ran the last leg with him.

“I knew my mom wanted me to be here and what an incredible honor that he has done this for the 25 children. He is an amazing guy to accomplish something like this, we’re all just so proud of him and so I wanted to be here as my mother’s only daughter and I felt she wanted me to be here to represent and hug him and tell him how proud she was of him,” Marie Osmond told ABC 4 Utah news.

Abigail Solstad, 14, will be one of the 25 to receive a new pair of hearing aids. She is 60% deaf in both ears and has had only one pair of hearing aids her entire whole life.

The family explained that hearing aids are expensive. Abigail’s first and only pair cost $ 5,000.

‘I’m just glad that he was willing to put himself through all that time and training to do it for us,” Abigail Solstad said.

“I felt guilty. Running in the rain, the snow and the cold wind, and I just sit in my warm house. I’m just so grateful everyday that he’s able to do this,” her mother, Melia Solstad said.

Mayor Jon Pike also ran the last mile with Osmond.

“To be able to help 25 kids with new hearing aids or upgraded hearing aids. what a difference that’s going to make in their lives,” Mayor Pike said.

Oticon Hearing Foundation said they will donate the latest state-of-the-art hearing aids to the 25 children. Each will cost $ 2,000-$ 4,000 dollars.

“Oticon is also donating FM systems which allow the children in the classroom who wear hearing aids to hear their teacher when the teacher is walking around the room or further away so it brings the sounds directly to their ears,” said Maureen Tomasula, an audiologist at Oticon.

Hundreds of people gathered at the “Super Hear-O” event on Saturday at Crosby Confluence Park for the event. Families dressed up in their favorite superhero costumes.

“Justin is our superhero!!” the Solstad’s said.

“I knew there were a lot of people relying on me so I kept saying, I gotta do it. Finish it to the end,” Osmond said.

He definitely is our superhero too.

For more information, visit Run4Hearing or the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.

Article source: http://www.good4utah.com/southernutah/story/d/story/justin-osmond-completes-250-mile-run-from-ephraim/83776/nRqWGXkh0E2apwn7CQAzVA

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Tinnitus sufferers sought for NIH trial

National Institutes of Health researchers are launching a clinical trial to test a device that seeks to rewire parts of the brain in hopes of reducing or eliminating tinnitus, a persistent buzzing or ringing in the ears in the absence of any real sound.

The small clinical trial is recruiting volunteers and will be conducted at three centers – at the University of Texas at Dallas, the University at Buffalo (SUNY), Buffalo and at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. An additional site will be added later in the year. More information about the trial and enrollment is available on the study’s website, http://www.tinnitustrial.com, or at http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov.

Roughly 10 percent of the adult population of the United States has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year, and approximately 10 million have been bothered enough by the condition to seek a doctor. Although tinnitus may be only an annoyance for some, for others the relentless ringing causes fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. Available treatments help some people cope, but current therapies lack the potential to significantly reduce the bothersome symptoms of tinnitus.

Article source: http://blog.startribune.com/tinnitus-sufferers-sought-for-nih-trial/248855351/

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Like Bats, We Use Both Sides of Brain to Listen

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center and American University have shown that, like humans, some bats use the left and right sides of their brains to process different aspects of sounds. According to the researchers, no other animal that has been studied has proved to use such hemispheric specialization for sound processing—not even monkeys or apes. As described in an April 27, 2015 study article published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, for humans and certain bats, the left brain is better at processing fast sounds, and the right brain is better at processing slow ones.

According to a recent announcement from Georgetown, the study authors believe their investigation of how bats process sound may provide insights into human language disorders.

“These findings upset the notion that only humans use different sides of their brains to distinguish different aspects of sound,” said the study’s senior author, Stuart D. Washington, PhD, a neuroscientist at Georgetown. Washington said the findings of asymmetrical sound processing in both human and bat brains make evolutionary sense.

“The slower timing of the right hemisphere may allow us to identify who is speaking, to gauge their emotional state via tone-of-voice and to tease out pitch in music, which is thought to be important for getting groups of people to coordinate their activities and can ultimately lead to the formation of cultures,” Washington said in the announcement. “It is therefore reasonable to understand why humans needed to evolve this asymmetry in their brains.”

The mustached bat from Brazil, or Pteronotus parnellii, needs to use the fast timing of the brain’s left hemisphere to distinguish different communication sounds of different frequencies, according to Washington. Otherwise, the bat cannot communicate with other bats.

“The bats also need to use the slow timing of the right hemisphere to use sonar—which relies on detecting small changes in frequency—to track the velocity of the fast-moving insects they fly after and eat,” Washington explained.

This asymmetric sampling in bats is sex-dependent (males have more asymmetry than females), which is also consistent with humans, the researchers report. They say that in humans, women tend to use both the left and right hemispheres for language, while men largely use just the left hemisphere. “Since this asymmetric sound processing is the basis for left hemispheric specialization for language, it too is assumed to be more common in men than in women,” said Washington. “Our results in bats may spur research to confirm that assumption in humans.”

The co-author of the study article is John S. Tillinghast, PhD, of the department of mathematics and statistics at American University.

Source: Georgetown University Medical Center

Photo credit: © Kruglovorda | Dreamstime.com

Article source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2015/05/like-bats-use-sides-brain-listen/

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Deadline extended for free hearing aids contest

Posted: Friday, May 1, 2015 10:00 am

Deadline extended for free hearing aids contest

Physicians Hearing Center and the Dothan Eagle are holding its annual hearing aid contest, which will provide a set of free hearing devices to the winner. The deadline for entries has been extended to Friday, May 15.

To enter: Write a short essay explaining why you or someone you know needs a set of hearing aids. Only Wiregrass residents can qualify to win the devices.

Contestants must be available to come to Physicians Hearing Center in Dothan for a free hearing test to determine the extent of hearing loss. Please include the name and telephone number for the contestant or a point of contact with the essay.

Submit essays to: Peggy Ussery, Dothan Eagle, 227 N. Oates St., Dothan, AL 36303 or [email protected]

on

Friday, May 1, 2015 10:00 am.


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Article source: http://www.dothaneagle.com/lifestyles/local/deadline-extended-for-free-hearing-aids-contest/article_32f37854-eded-11e4-b74b-f33dafa5a64f.html

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