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Tinnitus and Phantom Limb Pain

We discussed phantom limb pain at yesterday's tinnitus (T) support group, which has some similarities to T caused by hearing damage. In both cases, the brain is expecting sensory signals and is not receiving them, so it invents them, for want of a better description.

No matter whether these signals have a physical cause or not, they are interpreted the same way. Phantom pain is painful and phantom sounds are heard. There's no "it's all in your head" about it!

For phantom limbs, the mirror box has had some success. This ‘shows’ the brain that the missing limb is there, and it’s comfortable. It no longer needs to worry about it. This is so incredible you’d be right to be cynical, but it’s not only true, it’s also quite likely why hearing aids are so helpful with T.

Now the brain can receive the signals it expects, it has no need to create T so often. Not only that, but the physical sound reduces the contrast between quiet/tinnitus and it doesn’t seem as prominent.

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