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Better Understanding the Heterogeneity of Tinnitus to Improve and Develop New Treatments

Project Acronym: TINNET
Duration: 11/04/2014-10/04/2018
Action number: BM1306

Abstract

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an environmental acoustic stimulus. In Europe over 70 million people experience tinnitus and for 7 million it creates a debilitating condition. There are no established treatment approaches available for curing tinnitus. Better treatment is urgently needed.

Brain research has created a paradigm shift by demonstrating that tinnitus is the consequence of altered neural activity in specific brain networks rather than an ear problem. Based on the understanding of tinnitus as brain disorder, first promising therapeutic approaches have already been developed by individual groups participating in this Action.

However further development is hampered by the heterogeneity of tinnitus and limited knowledge about the neuronal underpinnings of the different tinnitus subtypes.

This Action will foster the establishment of a pan-european multidisciplinary network with the major goal to facilitate (1) the identification of meaningful criteria for tinnitus subtyping, (2) the neurobiological underpinnings of the different tinnitus subtypes and (3) their relevance for response to treatment. This knowledge is essential for developing of new treatment approaches, their clinical investigation and the speed of translation into marketable products.

This Action intends a stepwise approach which involves identification of (1) meaningful clinical and demographic characteristics for tinnitus subtyping, (2) tinnitus related changes of brain activity in the different forms of tinnitus, (3) intermediate genetic phenotypes for the identification of genetic factors in the pathogenesis of tinnitus and (4) predictors for response to various treatments. This approach requires a coordinated effort from basic scientists, technicians and clinicians of different disciplines working together in ongoing close collaboration.