Recent studies have suggested that hyperacusis, an abnormal hypersensitivity to ordinary environmental sounds, may be characterized by certain resting-state cortical oscillatory patterns, even with no sound stimulus. However, previous studies are limited in that most studied subjects with other comorbidities that may have affected cortical activity. In this regard, to assess ongoing cortical oscillatory activity in idiopathic hyperacusis patients with no comorbidities, we compared differences in resting-state cortical oscillatory patterns between five idiopathic hyperacusis subjects and five normal controls. The hyperacusis group demonstrated significantly higher electrical activity in the right auditory-related cortex for the gamma frequency band and left superior parietal lobule (SPL) for the delta frequency band versus the control group. The hyperacusis group also showed significantly decreased functional connectivity between the left auditory cortex (AC) and left orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), between the left AC and left subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) for the gamma band, and between the right insula and bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and between the left AC and left sgACC for the theta band versus the control group. The higher electrical activity in the SPL may indicate a readiness of "circuit-breaker" activity to shift attention to forthcoming sound stimuli. Also, because of the disrupted salience network, consisting of the dACC and insula, abnormally increased salience to all sound stimuli may emerge, as a consequence of decreased top-down control of the AC by the dACC and dysfunctional emotional weight attached to auditory stimuli by the OFC. Taken together, abnormally enhanced attention and salience to forthcoming sound stimuli may render hyperacusis subjects hyperresponsive to non-noxious auditory stimuli.
Han, J. J., Jang, J. H., De Ridder, D., Vanneste, S., Koo, J. W., & Song, J. J. (2018). Increased parietal circuit-breaker activity in delta frequency band and abnormal delta/theta band connectivity in salience network in hyperacusis subjects. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191858