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AN EXAMINATION OF CHANGES IN THE SOUND ENVIRONMENT AS MODULATORS OF THE HUMAN ACOUSTIC STARTLE RESPONSE IN CONTROL AND TINNITUS SAMPLES

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abstract
Tinnitus is a chronic disorder, hallmarked by persistent ear ringing, which plagues millions. Currently, tinnitus is only diagnosable in humans by self-report: the goal of this project was to determine whether a startle reflex paradigm could be used as a detector of tinnitus symptoms. The startle response is a brainstem reflex, initiated by sudden change in the environment. Responses can be facilitated by embedding a startle stimulus in background noise, or inhibited by preceding the startle stimulus by a prepulse (PPI) or a gap in background noise (GPI). This series of three studies examined the efficacy of using silent gaps as prepulse inhibitors of the eyeblink component of the human acoustic startle response, with the expectation that the perceived sound associated with tinnitus would partially fill the gap and lesson the expected inhibition. Study 1 examined what inhibitory patterns could be expected if the gap filling sounded different from the background, as well as quantification of GPI compared to traditional PPI. Study 2 examined progressively louder prepulses and progressively quieter partial gaps to evaluate expected inhibition if the tinnitus filling was quieter than the surrounding background. Study 3 tested the originally proposed paradigm with tinnitus and healthy hearing control samples. Our results did not support the use of this paradigm as a possible diagnostic measure of tinnitus.
subject
Gap
Prepulse
Startle
Startle Response
Tinnitus
contributor
Peterson, Hope A (author)
Blumenthal, Terry D (committee chair)
Silver, Wayne (committee member)
Ashley-Ross, Miriam A (committee member)
date
2018-05-24T08:35:43Z (accessioned)
2018-05-24T08:35:43Z (available)
2018 (issued)
degree
Biomedical Science – MS (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/90680 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
AN EXAMINATION OF CHANGES IN THE SOUND ENVIRONMENT AS MODULATORS OF THE HUMAN ACOUSTIC STARTLE RESPONSE IN CONTROL AND TINNITUS SAMPLES
type
Thesis

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