For researchers, tinnitus has been a tough nut to crack.
Explore this issue:June 2015
Starting in the mid-1990s, certain surgical cases raised an intriguing question: How can patients who have lost hearing in one ear following tumor excision still “hear” ringing in the deaf ear?
“Intuitively, we knew the answer,” said Richard Salvi, PhD, director of the University at Buffalo’s Center for Hearing and Deafness in New York. When the neural connection between the ear and brain is severed in such patients, it’s impossible for the phantom sound to be generated in the ear, he said. Rather, that signal has to be generated in the brain.