The International Tinnitus Journal

The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448

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Exploring the Effect of Silence on Auditory Network Regions in Young Female Adults who Experience Temporary Tinnitus on Exposure to Silence

Author(s): Ukaegbe Onyinyechi

Objectives: To examine the differences in auditory evoked cortical responses that may underlie the tendency of some people to perceive tinnitus. The study hypothesis is that the mean ALR and P300 amplitudes in normal hearing adults who perceive temporary tinnitus after exposure to sustained silence will be larger than the mean ALR and P300 amplitudes in normal hearing adults who do not perceive temporary tinnitus after exposure to sustained silence.

Design: This was a prospective cross-sectional study. The approval for the study was obtained from the IRB and COVID ramp up committee of University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG). Participants completed comprehensive hearing screening and pre- and post- silence ALR and P300 recordings were obtained. After the first ALR/P300 recording participants were exposed to ten minutes of silence. Participants completed a Qualtrics questionnaire to report any tinnitus perception that emerged during silence exposure. Absolute N1, P2 and P300 waveform amplitudes and latencies were identified and were entered into an SPSS spreadsheet for data analysis.

Results: Thirty adult females with normal pure tone hearing thresholds and no history of persistent tinnitus were included in the study. The mean age of the participants was 22.5 ± 3.9 years. When exposed to silence, eight (26.7%) participants perceived temporary tinnitus. N1 and P300 waveforms were smaller in amplitude and faster in latency in the tinnitus perception group; however, the ALR and P300 waveform latencies and amplitudes did not statistically differ significantly between the participants who perceived temporary tinnitus in silence and those who did not (p>0.05). The difference in waveform morphology between the tinnitus perception group and the non-tinnitus perception group revealed a greater difference in P300 amplitude after exposure to silence.

Conclusion: Differences in ALR and P300 latencies and amplitudes were observed between the tinnitus perception group and non-tinnitus perception group, with smaller P300 amplitudes appearing in the group perceiving tinnitus. While the results did not statistically significant, this pattern may reflect a mismatch between the neuronal response in the auditory cortex (N1 and P2 amplitudes and latencies) and the neuronal activity in the modulatory network regions (P300).

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