Tinnitus mapped inside human brain

Tinnitus is quite common in the general population, but I think that we get quite a lot of people here who feel there is some connection between thyroid and tinnitus. When the BBC posted a story about tinnitus and the brain, I sat up and took interest.

The very idea that tinnitus occurs over a significant part of the brain, not only the bits that directly handle the inputs from the ears, seems to make more like a widespread, systemic, causation rather than damage to the cochlea or nerves. Does this back-up thoughts about thyroid involvement? Well, not in the paper.

BBC News tinnitus story:


Full paper with free access:


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11 Replies

  • Thanks for posting.

  • I have had a ringing noise in my ear for a while now (very annoying). I searched online for a solution and came across a book on wje592.com/alternative-tinn... . I really enjoyed this book because it is straight to the point. A lot of other books have a lot of filter information and I have to spend a long time reading before I get to start implementing the tips. I was able to get rid of the ringing right away, and am really grateful for this.

  • I have just looked at the link on your reply sara586 which consisted of a long drawn out video by somebody who has researched and cured his tinnitus. Interesting stuff, although as ever you had to watch right through to the end without having the opportunity to break off to make a cup of tea/phone call. As predicted at the end no real answers unless you buy the package.

    Would you consider sharing how you managed to rid yourself of ringing ears, because I for one am a sufferer of tinnitus amongst a lot of others on this site. Having tinnitus is a real misery, and I like lots of other people have researched and look into many cures/treatments to no avail, if you have the answers, would you please share them with us all please?

  • I associate tinnitus with thyroid problems because for me, if I start to get tinnitus and increase my dose of thyroxine slightly the tinnitus goes away, in other words this is an empirical observation. Other people find that tinnitus is a side effect of taking thyroxine. I have always felt that the connection between the two is complex and indirect rather than simple cause-and-effect. However because Thyroid hormones are used in such a widespread way in the body it is not surprising to me that it can affect the brain in odd ways. 'Brain fog' and poor balance are other brain functions that are affected by thyroid hormone levels so why not tinnitus.

    I do feel that more research into Thyroid problems is desperately needed. I suppose that until it is costing the NHS billions, like diabetes is now, the research will be limited. I do have a nagging suspicion that because 90% of hypo people are women the condition does not attract so much interest as it would do if 90% of sufferers were men, but I hope I am wrong.

  • There is a huge research effort into various aspects of thyroid. It seems very largely to stay in the realms of research with a dreadfully low rate of permeation into clinical practice.

    Tinnitus seems to be slightly more common in men than women.

    I have had tinnitus, with slowly increasing severity, since I was about eight years old. When the UK broadcasters closed down and put out a high-pitch tone, I often found it difficult to be sure whether it was the television or my ears that were making the noise.

  • The other day I got my usual alert for new papers - there were 82 papers in one day. (Of course, some days have lower numbers. I'd guess a mean of around 15 a day.)


  • That high pitch tone when the TV closed down describes my tinnitus exactly! The tinnitus arrived along with M.E. and thyroid disease. Now 25 years later with no improvement. I get some relief wearing hearing aids but nothing has 'cured' it.

  • I have had tinnitus for many years. I have only been hypo for five years so don't see any connection myself, however there are many that do. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, it has definately affected my quality of life.

  • Thanks for the post. The main finding of the scan was that in this person tinnitus was associated with changed activity across large parts of the brain, not just the auditory systems, yes? To put it very loosely. The summary doesn't seem to say whether the tinnitus is assoc with noise damage in this case. There's a guy called Lopez Gomez, I think, in Spain, who has published one hypothesis and one treatment study which could link to this, suggesting a dopamine theory of tinnitus and also that it would have effects widely across the brain as a result. (I find it interesting because my son has tinnitus and also other dopamine receptor-linked conditions). This guy clearly is out on a limb, very few others have cited his study. But it does suggest melatonin might help reduce symptoms for some people.

    And also I think it would be possible to argue that it would be important to keep iron levels up. It might be the low iron which is the link with hypothyroids reporting tinnitus - that the very low iron might damage dopamine receptors in the brain.

    There are probably several different reasons for developing tinnitus though. This patient in the BBC film might be one of a sub group.

  • Strangely tonight I was thinking my tinnitus was a lot quieter so what has been different in the last 24 hours. Well last night I went to the theatre worried that I wouldn't stay awake as has a particularly draining weekend but I had no problems in that direction! I went to see Jesus Christ Super Star and I rememenber thinking the opening music was very piecing! Today the weather changed through all the seasons in a few hours but I had a hair appointment which trimming my short hair to be even shorter probably stimulated what was underneath but I also called in the herbalist to ask what's best for cleansing the liver and came away with some milk thistle and have taken my daily dose. I've also thought some of the skin on my face fes softer. So what has reduced the eternal loud white noise in my head, any suggestions?

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