Auditory localization by subjects with unilateral tinnitus

Petteri Hyvärinen, Catarina Macedo Mendonca Hiipakka, Olli Santala, Ville Pulkki, Antti A. Aarnisalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
287 Downloads (Pure)


Tinnitus is associated with changes in neural activity. How such alterations impact the localization ability of subjects with tinnitus remains largely unexplored. In this study, subjects with self-reported unilateral tinnitus were compared to subjects with matching hearing loss at high frequencies and to normal-hearing subjects in horizontal and vertical plane localization tasks. Subjects were asked to localize a pink noise source either alone or over background noise. Results showed some degree of difference between subjects with tinnitus and subjects with normal hearing in horizontal plane localization, which was exacerbated by background noise. However, this difference could be explained by different hearing sensitivities between groups. In vertical plane localization there was no difference between groups in the binaural listening condition, but in monaural listening the tinnitus group localized significantly worse with the tinnitus ear. This effect remained when accounting for differences in hearing sensitivity. It is concluded that tinnitus may degrade auditory localization ability, but this effect is for the most part due to the associated levels of hearing loss. More detailed studies are needed to fully disentangle the effects of hearing loss and tinnitus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2280-2289
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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