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Lau, Pia; Miesen, Miriam; Wunderlich, Robert; Stein, Alwina; Engell, Alva; Wollbrink, Andreas; Gerlach, Alexander L.; Junghöfer, Markus; Ehring, Thomas; Pantev, Christo (2015): The Relevance of Interoception in Chronic Tinnitus: Analyzing Interoceptive Sensibility and Accuracy. In: Biomed Research International, 487372
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Abstract

In order to better understand tinnitus and distress associated with tinnitus, psychological variables such as emotional and cognitive processing are a central element in theoretical models of this debilitating condition. Interoception, that is, the perception of internal processes, may be such a psychological factor relevant to tinnitus. Against this background, 20 participants suffering from chronic tinnitus and 20 matched healthy controlswere tested with questionnaires, assessing interoceptive sensibility, and participated in two tasks, assessing interoceptive accuracy: the Schandry task, a heartbeat estimation assignment, and a skin conductance fluctuations perception task assessing the participants' ability to perceive phasic increases in sympathetic activation were used. To test stress reactivity, a construct tightly connected to tinnitus onset, we also included a stress induction. No differences between the groups were found for interoceptive accuracy and sensibility. However, the tinnitus group tended to overestimate the occurrence of phasic activation. Loudness of the tinnitus was associated with reduced interoceptive performance under stress. Our results indicate that interoceptive sensibility and accuracy do not play a significant role in tinnitus. However, tinnitus might be associated with a tendency to overestimate physical changes.