IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Central gain modulation and rehabilitation of workers with tinnitus


Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears when no external source of sound is present. It presents as a buzzing or hissing in the ears or the head, and it can have a devastating impact on the quality of life and fitness-to-work of those affected.

As there are no explicit diagnostic criteria for tinnitus, diagnosis is often based solely on the patient’s complaint. The hypothesis that tinnitus results from brain sensitivity or inappropriate modulation of central gain is the most recent neuroscientific explanation, and the clinical implications for rehabilitation are major.

This research project was designed first to demonstrate that gain can be modulated in normal hearing the length of the central auditory system, and then to demonstrate that gain can also be reduced in tinnitus and that this reduction is associated with improvements in perception, psychoacoustic parameters and psychological symptoms.

These results suggest new avenues for management of workers, some early guidelines for rehabilitation of those suffering from tinnitus, a major problem.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2013-0033
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2017
Research Field: Occupational Rehabilitation
  • Sylvie Hébert (Université de Montréal)
  • Philippe Fournier (Université de Montréal)
  • Marc Schoenwiesner (Université de Montréal)