Tinnitus: perspectives from human neuroimaging

Tinnitus is the perception of phantom sound in the absence of a corresponding external source. It is a highly prevalent disorder, and most cases are caused by cochlear injury that leads to peripheral deafferentation, which results in adaptive changes in the CNS. In this article we critically assess the recent neuroimaging studies in individuals with tinnitus that suggest that the disorder is accompanied by functional and structural brain abnormalities in distributed auditory and non-auditory brain regions. Moreover, we consider how the identification of the neuronal mechanisms underlying the different forms of tinnitus would benefit from larger studies, replication and comprehensive clinical assessment of patients.