Evaluating the Precision of Auditory Sensory Memory as an Index of Intrusion in Tinnitus

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Abstract

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of measures of auditory short-term memory (ASTM) to provide a clinical measure of intrusion in tinnitus.

Design:

Response functions for six normal listeners on a delayed pitch discrimination task were contrasted in three conditions designed to manipulate attention in the presence and absence of simulated tinnitus: (1) no-tinnitus, (2) ignore-tinnitus, and (3) attend-tinnitus.

Results:

Delayed pitch discrimination functions were more variable in the presence of simulated tinnitus when listeners were asked to divide attention between the primary task and the amplitude of the tinnitus tone.

Conclusions:

Changes in the variability of auditory short-term memory may provide a novel means of quantifying the level of intrusion associated with the tinnitus percept during listening.

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