Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Elevated Acoustic Startle Responses in Humans: Relationship to Reduced Loudness Discomfort Level, but not Self-Report of Hyperacusis

Abstract Increases in the acoustic startle response (ASR) of animals have been reported following experimental manipulations to induce tinnitus, an auditory disorder defined by phantom perception of sound. The increases in ASR have been proposed to signify the development of hyperacusis, a clinical condition defined by intolerance of normally tolerable sound levels. To test this proposal, the present study compared ASR amplitude to measures of sound-level tolerance (SLT) in humans, the only species in which SLT can be directly assessed. Participants had clinically normal/near-normal hearing thresholds, were free of psychotropic medications, and comprised people with tinnitus and without. ASR was measured as eyeblink-related electromyographic activity in response to a noise pulse p…

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