The cochlea is the inner part of the ear
responsible for most hearing. Tinnitus is
generally thought to be caused by neurons firing
sporadically due to hearing loss. It occurs in
quiet environments, because any quiet noise will
be too low to hear, and instead, the nerve damage
will cause ringing. There was somewhat recently
(2001) a study on whether cochlear implants help
with tinnitus. This
study showed that by restoring the cochlea
with an implant, tinnitus is reduced or removed
The brain probably knows to stop the ringing
because it can again hear what actual quiet sounds
are happening, and therefore there is no random
neuron firing. Really good question.
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