Tinnitus, the perception of a sound in the absence of an acoustic stimulus, often develops after hearing loss. Human neuroimaging studies as well as animal models have shown that the phantom auditory sensation is related to altered patterns of spontaneous neuronal activity in the central auditory system. Computational models have been used to explore which plasticity mechanisms could lead to the development of neurophysiological correlates of tinnitus. The models show that if a homeostatic plasticity mechanism attempts to stabilize neuronal activity at a certain target level despite the loss of input after hearing loss, the resulting shift in the excitation/inhibition balance can lead to an amplification of spontaneous activity in the central auditory system, thus creating the basis for a tinnitus sensation.
The phantom auditory sensation of tinnitus is a frequent phenomenon; it is estimated that up to 10 % of the population experience chronic tinnitus....
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