Positron emission tomography of cortical centers of tinnitus

Frank Mirz, Christian Brahe Pedersen, Koichi Ishizu, Peter Johannsen, Therese Ovesen, Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen, Albert Gjedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Tinnitus is associated with a wide variety of disorders in the auditory system. Whether generated peripherally or centrally, tinnitus is believed to be associated with activity in specific cortical regions. The present study tested the hypothesis that these cortical centers subserve the generation, perception and processing of the tinnitus stimulus and that these processes are suppressed by lidocaine and masking. Positron emission tomography was used to map the tinnitus-specific central activity. By subtracting positron emission tomography images of regional cerebral blood flow distribution obtained during suppression of the tinnitus from positron emission tomography images obtained during the habitual tinnitus sensation, we were able to identify brain areas concerned with the cerebral representation of tinnitus. Increased neuronal activity caused by tinnitus occurred predominantly in the right hemisphere with significant loci in the middle frontal and middle temporal gyri, in addition to lateral and mesial posterior sites. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the sensation of tinnitus is associated with activity in cortical regions functionally linked to subserve attention, emotion and memory. For the first time, the functional anatomy of conditions with and without the habitual tinnitus sensation was obtained and compared in the same subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-144
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Functional brain imaging
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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