The role of the corticofugal efferent auditory system in the origin or maintenance of tinnitus is currently mostly overlooked. Changes in the balance between excitation and inhibition after an auditory trauma are likely to play a role in the origin of tinnitus. The efferent auditory system can be expected to be involved in such changes.
The goal of this article was to investigate the current knowledge of the functional efferent auditory system in humans, mostly based on animal research, and to look for new possibilities to try to answer the question of the specific role(s) of the corticofugal efferent auditory system in tinnitus.
Several suggestions for future research are made, for studies in humans as well as in animals.
We think that it will be worthwhile to investigate the efferent auditory system and its relations to tinnitus in the near future. With this article, we hope to inspire such work.