For the initiator of the International Tinnitus Seminar, Prof. Dr. Abraham Shulman, tinnitus is THE challenge of the 21st Century for ENT medicine, audiology and neurosciences.
Tinnitus is the name given to the condition of hearing sounds where there is no external sound present; sounds which other people cannot hear. In Germany alone, over 11 million people suffer from tinnitus, at least temporarily. Parallel to the development of a faster, louder society, the number of tinnitus cases is increasing dramatically, since the condition is related to stress and acoustic overstimulation – two factors which impact the work and life of an increasing number of people, including the young. The degree of suffering varies widely: Some complain about slight disturbances, others about unbearable agony that can even lead to suicide.
Although tinnitus is a common disease, not enough funds are available for research into its causes and treatments. However, research in these areas is crucial because far too little is known about what causes tinnitus. Scientists assume that, alongside stress and noise, the sound in the ear could be triggered by high blood pressure, diabetes, diseases of the cervical spine and many other factors. However, so far it has not been clarified how exactly these different causes can lead to tinnitus. So far only one thing is certain: "It is a malfunction of the processing of acoustic signals in the brain," says Birgit Mazurek, President of the congress.
New approaches are required that are based on the latest findings in tinnitus research. The ITS14 in Berlin offers ideal conditions for this to happen.