An Inverse Relationship Between Gray Matter Volume and Speech-in-Noise Performance in Tinnitus Patients with Normal Hearing Sensitivity

Yihsin Tai, Somayeh Shahsavarani, Rafay A. Khan, Sara A. Schmidt, Fatima T. Husain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Speech-in-noise (SiN) recognition difficulties are often reported in patients with tinnitus. Although brain structural changes such as reduced gray matter (GM) volume in auditory and cognitive processing regions have been reported in the tinnitus population, it remains unclear how such changes influence speech understanding, such as SiN performance. In this study, pure-tone audiometry and Quick Speech-in-Noise test were conducted on individuals with tinnitus and normal hearing and hearing-matched controls. T1-weighted structural MRI images were obtained from all participants. After preprocessing, GM volumes were compared between tinnitus and control groups using whole-brain and region-of-interest analyses. Further, regression analyses were performed to examine the correlation between regional GM volume and SiN scores in each group. The results showed decreased GM volume in the right inferior frontal gyrus in the tinnitus group relative to the control group. In the tinnitus group, SiN performance showed a negative correlation with GM volume in the left cerebellum (Crus I/II) and the left superior temporal gyrus; no significant correlation between SiN performance and regional GM volume was found in the control group. Even with clinically defined normal hearing and comparable SiN performance relative to controls, tinnitus appears to change the association between SiN recognition and regional GM volume. This change may reflect compensatory mechanisms utilized by individuals with tinnitus who maintain behavioral performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Gray matter volume
  • Normal hearing sensitivity
  • Speech-in-noise recognition
  • Tinnitus
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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