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Evaluating the Precision of Auditory Sensory Memory as an Index of Intrusion in Tinnitus

Barrett, Doug J. K.; Pilling, Michael

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000367
Brief Report

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of measures of auditory short-term memory (ASTM) to provide a clinical measure of intrusion in tinnitus.

Design: Response functions for six normal listeners on a delayed pitch discrimination task were contrasted in three conditions designed to manipulate attention in the presence and absence of simulated tinnitus: (1) no-tinnitus, (2) ignore-tinnitus, and (3) attend-tinnitus.

Results: Delayed pitch discrimination functions were more variable in the presence of simulated tinnitus when listeners were asked to divide attention between the primary task and the amplitude of the tinnitus tone.

Conclusions: Changes in the variability of auditory short-term memory may provide a novel means of quantifying the level of intrusion associated with the tinnitus percept during listening.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

1Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom; and 2Department of Psychology, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom.

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This work was partly funded by an Action on Hearing Loss summer bursary awarded to the first author.

Both authors contributed equally to the study design, data analyses, and preparation of the manuscript. D.J.K.B. ran the experiment at the University of Leicester.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received September 17, 2015; accepted July 19, 2016.

Address for correspondence: Doug J. K. Barrett, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, Leicester University, Henry Wellcome Building, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, United Kingdom. E-mail:

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