This study uses the multi-feature paradigm to compare the MMN responses of individuals with normal hearing thresholds, including the high frequencies with and without tinnitus.
Sixteen subjects with chronic subjective idiopathic tinnitus and twenty matched healthy controls were included in the study. Participants with hearing thresholds (0.125–16 kHz) less than 20 dB HL and MoCA test scores above 21 were included in the study. MMN responses and topographical maps of the responses resulting from the multi-feature MMN paradigm were recorded from 22 surface scalp electrodes. Amplitude and latency parameters of the MMN responses of five different deviants, consisting of frequency, intensity, duration, location, and silent gap, were compared between the two groups.
The amplitudes of MMN responses were lower in the tinnitus group than in the control group at Fz electrode for all deviant types. At the same time, there was no difference between the groups for MMN latencies and, no correlation was found between THI and MMN.
According to our results, the MMN might indicate a possible impairment in pre-attentive and automatic central auditory processing for chronic tinnitus patients. Since MMN responses in the tinnitus group differ from those of healthy individuals, it might be used as a reference for evaluating the central auditory pathways of tinnitus patients.