Wible notes phantom auditory phenomena (also called auditory hallucinations) includes tinnitus, musical hallucinations, and hearing voices (and more) are defined as "auditory perceptions in the absence of external stimulation." Auditory hallucinations may be considered a continuum of complexity and may arise due to many etiologies, but are generally attributed to "central brain dysfunction" or "abnormal brain activity." Wible reports that tinnitus is a simple form of auditory hallucination and is thought to primarily arise from abnormal brain activity, likely within the primary auditory cortex. Further, she reports neuroimaging and magnetoencephalographic studies have confirmed reorganization of the primary auditory cortex in tinnitus patients. Wible reports that when neurologically impaired patients hear voices that are localized to one side and that sign/symptom is often found in patients with schizophrenia. The schizophrenic patient may hear words, voices or entire dialogs. The author summarizes that patients who experience phantom auditory phenomena (i.e., auditory hallucinations) are not in control of these percepts, and from the patient's perspective, the perception appears real.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
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Beck DL. (2011) Hearing Aid Amplification and Tinnitus. Hearing Journal 64(6):12-14.
Eggermont JJ. (2012) Current Issues in Tinnitus. In Translational Perspectives in Auditory Neuroscience. Editors: Tremblay KE, Burkard RF. Plural Publishing.
Kochkin S, Tyler R, Born J. (2011) MarkeTrak VIII: The Prevalence of Tinnitus in the United States and the Self-Reported Efficacy of Various Treatments. Hearing Review 18(12):10–26
Jacobson G. (2012) Tinnitus Relief- At What Cost? Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23(2):80.
Newman CW, Sandridge SA. (2012) A Comparison of Benefit and Economic Value Between Two Sound Therapy Tinnitus Management Options. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23:126–138.
Stouffer LJ, Tyler RS. (1990) Characterization of Tinnitus by Tinnitus Patients. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders 55:439-453.
Tyler RS. (2012) Patient Preferences and Willingness to Pay for Tinnitus Treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23:115–125.
Wible CG. (2012) The Brain Bases of Phantom Auditory Phenomena—From Tinnitus to Hearing Voices. Seminars in Hearing 3(3).