Positron emission tomography (PET) has enabled researchers in Buffalo, NY, to pinpoint specific sites in the brain that are associated with tinnitus.
The researchers, from the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, studied 4 patients with tinnitus and 6 controls with normal hearing. The patients in the imaging study have the unusual ability to control the loudness of the ringing in their ears by clenching their jaws. Therefore, the researchers could use PET scans to track fluctuations in cerebral blood flow while the patients manipulated their symptoms, creating a map of specific brain sites involved in tinnitus activity.
Voelker R. Tracking Tinnitus. JAMA. 1998;279(8):574. doi:10.1001/jama.279.8.574