Adam C. Lammert, Ph.D.
Biomedical Engineering & Neuroscience
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Characterizing Tinnitus Using Reverse Correlation
Tinnitus – the perception of sound in the absence of any external stimulus – affects over 25 million people in US, and commonly leads to functional cognitive impairment and substantial reduction in quality of life. The sounds experienced by tinnitus patients are believed to be extremely heterogeneous across individuals. Attempts to analyze patterns of heterogeneity, to identify physiological correlates and distinct causal mechanisms, and to develop precise treatments, all rest on the ability to accurately characterize tinnitus sounds in individual patients. However, existing methods for characterizing tinnitus sounds are best suited for patients with tonal tinnitus, who experience sounds resembling pure tones (e.g., ringing), a group that may represent only half of all tinnitus patients. In this talk, we will describe preliminary work toward our long-term goal of developing a validated clinical assay that can be used to accurately characterize the full range of sounds experienced by tinnitus patients.