Neurophysiological model of tinnitus

Document Type : Review Articles


1 Academic Member, Department of Audiology, Ahvaz University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Academic Member, Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran



Introduction: Tinnitus, a common symptom in patients with otologic and/or neurologic problems, is a medical term describing acoustic perceptions in the ear or in the head that are not caused by or related to environmental stimuli. It is usually not considered as a disease by itself but rather as a part of an underlying medical condition including sudden hearing loss, acoustic trauma, cochlear dysfunction, Meniere’s disease, and neurological disorder. The neuroscientific analysis of tinnitus has been led to the development of a new theory on its origin which will be discussed in detail as the neurophysiologic model of tinnitus.Materials and Methods: A review of the latest literature on the subject of neurophysiological model of tinnitus was conducted in science direct, Pubmed, Google scholar, Proquet, Scopouse databases using the following keywords: “tinnitus”, “neurophysiologic model” and “mechanisms of tinnitus”.Results: Of 35 original and 7 review articles initially found, 18 articles were finally selected having studied original articles on the bases of their title, introduction and discussion and read review articles completely. The selected articles were used to carry out this review on the neurophysiologic model of tinnitus.Conclusion: The neurophysiologic model of tinnitus proposes that auditory and nonauditory processes are involved in it. Tinnitus loudness perception and the rate of its annoyance are depending on the limbic system’s activity.Keywords: Tinnitus, Auditory neurophysiological model, Nonauditory neurophysiological model