Research Article

Brainstem auditory evoked response characteristics in normalhearing subjects with chronic tinnitus and in non-tinnitus group


Background and Aim: While most of the people with tinnitus have some degrees of hearing impairment, a small percent of patients admitted to ear, nose and throat clinics or hearing evaluation centers are those who complain of tinnitus despite having normal hearing thresholds. This study was performed to better understanding of the reasons of probable causes of tinnitus and to investigate possible changes in the auditory brainstem function in normal-hearing patients with chronic tinnitus.
Methods: In this comparative cross-sectional, descriptive and analytic study, 52 ears (26 with and 26 without tinnitus) were examined. Components of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) including wave latencies and wave amplitudes were determined in the two groups and analyzed using appropriate statistical methods.
Results: The mean differences between the absolute latencies of waves I, III and V was less than 0.1 ms between the two groups that was not statistically significant. Also, the interpeak latency values of waves I-III, III-V and I-V in both groups had no significant difference. Only, the V/I amplitude ratio in the tinnitus group was significantly higher (p=0.04).
Conclusion: The changes observed in amplitude of waves, especially in the latter ones, can be considered as an indication of plastic changes in neuronal activity and its possible role in generation of tinnitus in normal-hearing patients.

1. Davis A, Refaie A. Epidemiology of tinnitus. Tinnitus handbook. San Diego: Singular; 2000.
2. Georgiewa P, Klapp BF, Fischer F, Reisshauer A, Juckel G, Frommer J, et al. An integrative model of developing tinnitus based on recent neurobiological findings. Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(3):592-600.
3. Lockwood AH, Salvi RJ, Burkard RF. Tinnitus. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(12):904-10.
4. Mohammadkhani G, Roozbahani M, Zoghi E, Fatahi J, Faghihzadeh S. Comparison of auditory brainstem response in noise induced tinnitus and non-tinnitus control subjects. Audiol. 2009;17(2):9-15.
5. Lockwood AH, Salvi RJ, Coad M, Towsley M, Wack D, Murphy B. The functional neuroanatomy of tinnitus evidence for limbic system links and neural plasticity. Neurology. 1998;50(1):114-2.
6. Attias J, Pratt H, Reshef I, Bresloff I, Horowitz G, Polyakov A, et al. Detailed analysis of auditory brainstem responses in patients with noise-induced tinnitus. Int J Audiol. 1996;35(5):259-70.
7. Gu JW, Herrmann BS, Levine RA, Melcher JR. Brainstem auditory evoked potentials suggest a role for the ventral cochlear nucleus in tinnitus. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2012;13(6):819-33.
8. Barnea G, Attias J, Gold S, Shahar A. Tinnitus with normal hearing sensitivity: extended high-frequency audiometry and auditory-nerve brain-stem-evoked responses. Int J Audiol. 1990;29(1):36-45.
9. Kehrle HM, Granjeiro RC, Sampaio AL, Bezerra R, Almeida VF, Oliveira CA. Comparison of auditory brainstem response results in normal-hearing patients with and without tinnitus. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008;134(6):647-51.
10. Lanting C, De Kleine E, Bartels H, Van Dijk P. Functional imaging of unilateral tinnitus using fMRI. Acta Otolaryngol. 2008;128(4):415-21.
11. Gerken GM, Hesse PS, Wiorkowski JJ. Auditory evoked responses in control subjects and in patients with problem-tinnitus. Hear Res. 2001;157(1):52-64.
12. McKee G, Stephens S. An investigation of normally hearing subjects with tinnitus. Int J Audiol. 1992;31(6):313-7.
13. Melcher JR, Kiang N. Generators of the brainstem auditory evoked potential in cat III: identified cell populations. Hear Res. 1996;93(1):52-71.
14. Baguley DM. Mechanisms of tinnitus. Br Med Bull. 2002;63(1):195-212.
15. Galazyuk AV, Wenstrup JJ, Hamid MA. Tinnitus and underlying brain mechanisms. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;20(5):409-15.
IssueVol 23 No 2 (2014) QRcode
SectionResearch Article(s)
Tinnitus normal hearing threshold auditory brainstem response

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Nemati S, Kousha A, Faghih Habibi A, Panahi R, Pastadast M. Brainstem auditory evoked response characteristics in normalhearing subjects with chronic tinnitus and in non-tinnitus group. Aud Vestib Res. 2017;23(2):93-90.