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Recent auditory brain stem response measurements in tinnitus subjects with normal audiograms indicate the presence of hidden hearing loss that manifests as reduced neural output from the cochlea at high sound intensities, and results from mice suggest a link to deafferentation of auditory nerve fibers. As deafferentation would lead to deficits in hearing performance, the present study investigates whether tinnitus patients with normal hearing thresholds show impairment in intensity discrimination compared to an audiometrically matched control group. Intensity discrimination thresholds were significantly increased in the tinnitus frequency range, consistent with the hypothesis that auditory nerve fiber deafferentation is associated with tinnitus.


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