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A Review of Auditory Prediction and Its Potential Role in Tinnitus Perception

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The precise mechanisms underlying tinnitus perception and distress are still not fully understood. A recent proposition is that auditory prediction errors and related memory representations may play a role in driving tinnitus perception. It is of interest to further explore this.


To obtain a comprehensive narrative synthesis of current research in relation to auditory prediction and its potential role in tinnitus perception and severity.

Research Design:

A narrative review methodological framework was followed.

Data Collection and Analysis:

The key words Prediction Auditory, Memory Prediction Auditory, Tinnitus AND Memory, Tinnitus AND Prediction in Article Title, Abstract, and Keywords were extensively searched on four databases: PubMed, Scopus, SpringerLink, and PsychINFO. All study types were selected from 2000‐2016 (end of 2016) and had the following exclusion criteria applied: minimum age of participants <18, nonhuman participants, and article not available in English. Reference lists of articles were reviewed to identify any further relevant studies. Articles were short listed based on title relevance.

Study Sample:

After reading the abstracts and with consensus made between coauthors, a total of 114 studies were selected for charting data.


The hierarchical predictive coding model based on the Bayesian brain hypothesis, attentional modulation and top-down feedback serves as the fundamental framework in current literature for how auditory prediction may occur. Predictions are integral to speech and music processing, as well as in sequential processing and identification of auditory objects during auditory streaming. Although deviant responses are observable from middle latency time ranges, the mismatch negativity (MMN) waveform is the most commonly studied electrophysiological index of auditory irregularity detection. However, limitations may apply when interpreting findings because of the debatable origin of the MMN and its restricted ability to model real-life, more complex auditory phenomenon. Cortical oscillatory band activity may act as neurophysiological substrates for auditory prediction. Tinnitus has been modeled as an auditory object which may demonstrate incomplete processing during auditory scene analysis resulting in tinnitus salience and therefore difficulty in habituation. Within the electrophysiological domain, there is currently mixed evidence regarding oscillatory band changes in tinnitus.


There are theoretical proposals for a relationship between prediction error and tinnitus but few published empirical studies.
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Keywords: auditory prediction; memory; models; neural mechanisms; perceptual organization; scene perception; sensory plasticity/adaptation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2018

This article was made available online on July 17, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "A Review of Auditory Prediction and Its Potential Role in Tinnitus Perception".

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