AudiologyNOW! 2016: Topics in Tinnitus: Tinnitus: Causes, Characteristics, and Biologic Bases (.3 CEUs; ABA Certificants: Tier 1)
Recorded On: 04/15/2016
Topics in Tinnitus Lecture: Causes, Characteristics, and Biologic Bases
The registration for this eAudiology Web seminar is free through funding by the American Academy of Audiology Foundation with a grant from Widex.
Duration: Three hours
Presenter: Jennifer Melcher, PhD
ABA Certificants Tier 1
Instructional Level: Intermediate
Program Focus: Knowledge
Learner Outcomes: Upon completion, each participant in the eAudiology Web seminar will be able to:
- Describe major forms of trauma (acoustic and otherwise) leading to tinnitus, perceptual and psychological aspects of tinnitus, and methods of assessment
- Discern important aspects of brain imaging and other physiological studies of tinnitus
- Describe brain centers for which there is evidence of involvement in tinnitus, as well as neural mechanisms proposed to underlie tinnitus
Description: This eAudiology Web seminar will focus on the clinical problem of tinnitus. While sometimes viewed as an “ear problem", the brain – auditory and non-auditory - plays an important role in the development of tinnitus, as well as the intolerance of sound that can occur with it (hyperacusis). Causes and characteristics of tinnitus, as well as brain imaging and EEG investigations into the biologic bases of tinnitus will be reviewed during this session. Drawing from both human and animal data, potential physiological substrates for multiple facets of the tinnitus condition will be discussed.
Dr. Melcher's lab at Mass Eye and Ear currently focuses on the clinical problem of tinnitus. While often viewed as an “ear problem”, there is good evidence that tinnitus involves abnormalities of the brain and that the somatosensory, limbic, and auditory systems are all key players. Dr. Melcher's research group uses approaches ranging from neuroimaging to behavioral testing to understand tinnitus with the ultimate goal of treating it. The tinnitus effort is the latest undertaking in a progression of research beginning in graduate school at MIT where she used a combination of neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and neuronal modeling techniques to identify specific neuronal populations generating the brainstem auditory evoked potential.Recognizing the possibilities offered by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for understanding human listening, Dr. Melcher formed an auditory imaging group soon after completing her doctorate. Since fMRI was still in its infancy, much of her early work involved surmounting technical hurdles, including those imposed by the acoustically hostile MRI environment. This groundwork gave way to investigations showing ways that both physical and perceptual aspects of sound are represented in the brain.The work has provided new insights, directly in humans, into the neural coding of perceived loudness, pitch, repetition rate, and the segregation of our auditory environment into distinct objects or “streams”. The more recent translational turn of Dr. Melcher's research was motivated by the intellectual richness of the problem of tinnitus and a longstanding desire to focus her efforts on a clinically significant problem in need of effective treatments.