Suffering from tinnitus leads to impaired concentration and less enjoyment of listening to music. This is one of the first results of research conducted on people suffering from this famous so-called subjective noise: a constant whistling, humming or crackling sound, which manifests itself through the perception of a “phantom sound” in the absence of stimulation. External noise symptoms are often linked to acoustic trauma or aging of the ear (presbycusis).
According to a meta-analysis published in August 2022 in the journal All Ages Combined, 14.4% of adults worldwide are affected by tinnitus (740 million). JAMA Neurology and carried out by Italian, German, Swedish, Dutch and British researchers. They reviewed 767 publications and selected 113 scientific articles to assess the prevalence and incidence of tinnitus globally between 1972 and 2021. The effect varies greatly from person to person, ranging from mild annoyance to severe disability in daily life (sleep problems, irritability, hypersensitivity to noise, etc.) The National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Insarm), a dedicated Filed for this disorder in October 2023, it is estimated that one in ten people in France face it. Very disabling form representing less than 1% of cases.
Called Audicog, the research was carried out by Alain Londereau, professor of neuropsychology at the University of Lille, otolaryngologist and his team at the Assistance Public-Hopiteaux de Paris (European Georges-Pompido and Petit Hospital -Salpêtrière) and his team. Brain organization – using functional neuroimaging, examines changes in neural networks linked to tinnitus, while assessing the auditory, social-emotional and cognitive profile of affected subjects. Supported by the Hearing Foundation, the project also aims to isolate specific neural networks that may be the target of future therapeutic treatments.
Excessive hearing fatigue
“We already know a lot about tinnitus but we can’t put it all together”Severin underlines Samson. “With Audicog, our aim is to better understand what cognitive factors are involved in tinnitus-induced intolerance and try to keep only those that are specific to tinnitus, Alain Londero adds. That is, excluding all the confounding factors: hearing loss, anxiety, sleep disorders, depression that could be linked…” Once this dissociation is achieved, the team hopes that more targeted therapeutic approaches will become possible.
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