Noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus—new research developments and remaining gaps in disease assessment, treatment, and prevention

Tang Chuan Wang*, Ta Yuan Chang, Richard Tyler, Ying Ju Lin, Wen Miin Liang, Yio Wha Shau, Wei Yong Lin, Yi Wen Chen, Chia Der Lin, Ming Hsui Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Long-term noise exposure often results in noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Tinnitus, the generation of phantom sounds, can also result from noise exposure, although understanding of its underlying mechanisms are limited. Recent studies, however, are shedding light on the neural processes involved in NIHL and tinnitus, leading to potential new and innovative treatments. This review focuses on the assessment of NIHL, available treatments, and development of new pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments based on recent studies of central auditory plasticity and adaptive changes in hearing. We discuss the mechanisms and maladaptive plasticity of NIHL, neuronal aspects of tinnitus triggers, and mechanisms such as tinnitus-associated neural changes at the cochlear nucleus underlying the generation of tinnitus after noise-induced deafferentation. We include observations from recent studies, including our own studies on associated risks and emerging treatments for tinnitus. Increasing knowledge of neural plasticity and adaptive changes in the central auditory system suggest that NIHL is preventable and transient abnormalities may be reversable, although ongoing research in assessment and early detection of hearing difficulties is still urgently needed. Since no treatment can yet reverse noise-related damage completely, preventative strategies and increased awareness of hearing health are essential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number732
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Sciences
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Central auditory system
  • Cochlear damage
  • Deafferentation
  • Hidden hearing loss
  • Maladaptive plasticity
  • Neural plasticity
  • Noise induced hearing loss
  • Tinnitus

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