13Apr2016

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Tinnitus has been found to affect the way you process emotions

Posted on Apr 13, 2016

Dealing with a hearing impairment comes with its ups and downs. You may feel angry, frustrated and distressed that you're missing out on conversations with your loved ones.

However, it's not only hearing loss that can impact your emotions. Tinnitus is sometimes developed in conjunction with hearing loss, and though it's not a cause, WebMD reports that up to 90 per cent of people who have tinnitus will also have a hearing loss condition1.

Tinnitus is a recurring sound in your ears, usually a ringing, but it can also be buzzing, whining, whooshing or hissing, to name a few. While there is no cure for tinnitus as of yet, it can be easily managed as to not cause a detrimental impact on your quality of life.

Read more to learn how tinnitus can affect your emotions.

Processing emotions differently with tinnitus

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois has found that those with tinnitus process emotions differently than those without2.

The researchers looked at two different groups of participants – those with mild tinnitus and those with no symptoms. The groups were then exposed to three different types of sounds. Two of them invoked either positive or negative emotions – sounds such as a baby crying or young children giggling. The third category consisted of neutral sounds such as people talking in the background.

It was found that those without tinnitus have more engagement in certain emotional areas of their brain, as shown by a contrast MRI scan. They also responded to emotional sounds quicker than those with tinnitus.

In tinnitus sufferers, it was found that the frontal lobe of the brain – an area associated with impulse control – was activated more in those with lower distress levels. When focussing on the severity of tinnitus and its impact on emotions, this response suggests that perhaps it was responsible for better control over the emotional distress caused by tinnitus. 

Catch the warning signs of tinnitus early by getting a FREE* hearing check with HEARINGLife, or call us at 1300 308 125 for a consult today.

1WebMD, Understanding Tinnitus – the basics. Accessed April, 2016.
2Illinois News Bureau, Study: Emotion processing in the brain changes with tinnitus severity. Accessed April, 2016.

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