PBS NewsHour Highlights Dr. Cheung's Tinnitus Research

Tinnitus Team


The tinnitus research of UCSF Otolaryngology Professor Steven Cheung, MD, was featured in a November, 2013 PBS NewsHour story. In the story, correspondent Miles O'Brien discussed new treatments for tinnitus, a challenging problem for an estimated 50 million Americans and the primary service-connected medical complaint among combat veterans.

Using functional MRI, Dr. Cheung's research group has been able to image the phantom noise that is called tinnitus. Dr. Cheung believes the basil ganglia, an important central part of the brain controlling awareness, plays a key role in the creation of tinnitus when it allows perception of phantom noise to come to the forefront. His research with Parkinson's disease patients with tinnitus found that deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease could also have a suppressive effect on tinnitus—that by manipulating the brain electronically, the perception of noise can potentially be lessened or eliminated.

"I am now actively pursuing treatment ideas introduced in the PBS broadcast," commented Dr. Cheung. "The first is an NIH-funded Phase 1 trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for the treatment of troublesome tinnitus, and the second is a Department of Defense-funded multimodal imaging of tinnitus using high field fMRI and magnetoencephalographic imaging technologies".

To learn more about Dr. Cheung's development of innovative rehabilitative therapies for tinnitus, watch the PBS NewsHour story by visiting: PBS News Hour