Tinnitus impairs attention and enjoyment of music


Tinnitus is often linked to acoustic trauma or aging of the ear.

Suffering from tinnitus leads to impaired attention and less enjoyment of listening to music. This is what emerges from the first results of research carried out on people suffering from these famous so-called subjective noises: constant whistling, buzzing or ling, which manifests itself through the perception of a “phantom sound” in the absence of stimulus. external sound. Symptoms often linked to acoustic trauma or aging of the ear (presbycusis).

All ages combined, 14.4% of adults are affected by tinnitus worldwide (740 million) according to a meta-analysis published in August 2022 in the journal Jama Neurology and carried out by Italian, German, Swedish, Dutch and British researchers. They reviewed 767 publications and selected 113 scientific articles between 1972 and 2021 to ess the prevalence and incidence of tinnitus globally. The impact varies greatly from one individual to another, ranging from a simple annoyance to a severe handicap in daily life (sleep problems, irritability, hypersensitivity to noise, etc.) The National Institute of Health and medical research (Inserm), which has devoted a file to this disorder in October 2023, estimates that one in ten people face it in France. Very disabling forms representing less than 1% of cases.

Called Audicog, the research – carried out by Séverine Samson, professor of neuropsychology at the University of Lille, Alain Londero, otolaryngologist, and their team at the istance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (European Georges-Pompidou and Pitié Hospital -Salpétrière) and at the Brain Institute – using functional neuroimaging, examine changes in neural networks linked to tinnitus, while evaluating the auditory, socio-emotional and cognitive profile of affected subjects. Supported by the Hearing Foundation, this project also aims to isolate specific neural networks which could be the target of future theutic treatments.

Excessive hearing fatigue

“We already know a lot about tinnitus but we can’t necessarily put it all together”underlines Séverine Samson. “With Audicog, our objective is essentially to better understand what cognitive factors are involved in the intolerance induced by tinnitus and to try to keep only what is specific to tinnitus, adds Alain Londero. That is to say, excluding all confounding factors: hearing loss, anxiety, sleep disorders, depression which could be linked…” Once this dissociation has been achieved, the team hopes that much more targeted theutic approaches will be possible.

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