Tinnitus is a very common condition: its prevalence is estimated to be 10-15%, with 1-4% of the population being severely affected. Severe tinnitus can have a devastating impact on the quality of life; it is often associated with sleeplessness, loss of concentration, anxiety, depression, and in some cases with a complete incapability to participate in normal activities such as work or family life. Despite the large burden of disease, there is currently no curative treatment for tinnitus.. A lack of understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying tinnitus is an important contributing factor to this paucity of therapeutic options.
The main research objective of this project is to investigate whether a decrease in GABAergic inhibition makes a large contribution to tinnitus in both an animal model for tinnitus and in human patients.
The direct link between the approaches in animals and humans will provide an important validation of the animal model. In addition, it will increase the basic knowledge of tinnitus mechanisms in humans and may contribute to the development of a treatment for tinnitus.