Could We Use Resting-state fMRI to Measure the Efficacy of Tinnitus Interventions?

Research Paper Title

Replicability of Neural and Behavioral Measures of Tinnitus Handicap in Civilian and Military Populations: Preliminary Results.


In the past decade, resting-state functional connectivity, acquired using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), has emerged as a popular measure of tinnitus, especially as related to self-reported handicap or psychological reaction.

The goal of this study was to assess replicability of neural correlates of tinnitus, namely, resting-state functional connectivity, in the same individuals acquired over 2 sessions.


Data were collected at 2 different sites (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Joint Base San Antonio Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center) using similar 3T magnets and similar data acquisition paradigms. Thirty-six patients (all civilians) were scanned using resting-state fMRI at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ten patients, active-duty Service members and Veterans, were scanned at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Centre and the Department of Defence Hearing Centre of Excellence.

Each participant was scanned twice, a week apart, using identical protocols of 10 min resting-state fMRI.


Tinnitus handicap scores using the Tinnitus Functional Index and the Tinnitus Primary Function Questionnaire ranged between no or mild handicap to moderately severe handicap but did not significantly differ between visits.

The researchers examined the default mode, dorsal attention, and auditory resting-state networks and found that the strength of the within-network functional connections across visit was similar for the attention and default mode networks but not for the auditory network.

In addition, the functional connection between the attention network and precuneus, a region of the default mode network, was also replicable across visits.


The results show that resting-state fMRI measures are replicable and reliable in patients with a subjective condition, although some networks and functional connections may be more stable than others.

This paves the way for using resting-state fMRI to measure the efficacy of tinnitus interventions and as a tool to help propose better management options.


Husain, F.T., Schmidt, S.A., Tai, Y., Granato, E.C., Ramos, P., Sherman, P. & Esquivel, C. (2019) Replicability of Neural and Behavioral Measures of Tinnitus Handicap in Civilian and Military Populations: Preliminary Results. American Journal of Audiology. 28(1S), pp.191-208. doi: 10.1044/2019_AJA-TTR17-18-0039.


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