Researchers at the University of Essex, Colchester, UK, have received a 3-year studentship from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, London, to investigate the relationship between tinnitus and defects in the inner ear.

The award, worth more than £69,00, has been given to the Hearing Research Laboratory in the university’s Psychology department. The research will be undertaken by Christine Tan, an audiologist, and supervised by Professor Ray Meddis from the department, and co-supervisor Don McFerran, a consultant ENT surgeon at Essex County Hospital.

At present, there is no objective way of measuring tinnitus, and no consensus on the cause. or treatment of this condition. While early theories on the cause of tinnitus focused on the ear itself, later research concentrated on the hearing pathways within the brain.

"Some recent studies have suggested that progress can be made using more sophisticated hearing tests," Meddis says. The lab has been developing computerized hearing tests as part of the Hearing Dummy Project, in a 3-year study sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The tests are sensitive to minor abnormalities and will be used to investigate those with tinnitus.

[Source: Medical News Today]