The British Tinnitus Association is partnering with scientists and academics from the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and the Universities of Nottingham and Newcastle to conduct innovative research, using imaging data from thousands of brain scans held in the UK Biobank. It is thought that chronic tinnitus may be associated with changes in the structure of the brain, and that reversing these changes might prove effective in the treatment of the condition.

We are excited to be working with world class organisations as we push on in search of a cure for tinnitus. The research teams we are partnering with have a proven track record in innovative, patient-focused research making our partnership a powerful combination. Working as one team we hope to unlock the full potential of the UK Biobank data, giving new insight into the mechanisms behind tinnitus.

David Stockdale, Chief Executive, BTA

The available evidence suggests that tinnitus cannot be explained on the basis of activity within the auditory system alone. Although some research has been conducted into the connections between auditory and wider brain networks, and models suggested, no models have been proven.

Dr Will Sedley, University of Newcastle

There is a real opportunity with this study to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underpinning tinnitus, using the extensive datasets in the UK Biobank. If we are successful, this will open up new therapeutic targets and provide direction for researchers searching for a cure for tinnitus. Previous studies of brain activity in people with tinnitus have been constrained by small sample sizes. We intend to take full advantage of the unprecedented subject numbers available to us through the UK Biobank. This project will also benefit from the University of Nottingham’s recent flagship investment to establish a Precision Imaging Beacon of Excellence as we continue our leading role in the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging to further our understanding of disease.

Professor David Baguley, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre

Photo of Will Sedley courtesy of Action on Hearing Loss