Behavioral Animal Models of Tinnitus, Pharmacology, and Treatment

  • Richard SalviEmail author
  • Edward Lobarinas
  • Wei Sun


  1. 1.

    Tinnitus research on humans is difficult, primarily because the pathophysiology of tinnitus is still not well understood.

  2. 2.

    A number of animal models have been developed in order to study conditions that may lead to tinnitus and evaluate treatments for efficacy and safety before being used in human trials.

  3. 3.
    Current tinnitus animal models fall into five general subtypes:
    1. a.

      Lick suppression

    2. b.

      Operant conditioning

    3. c.

      False-positive models

    4. d.

      Avoidance conditioning

    5. e.

      Startle reflex models

  4. 4.
    Animal models have evaluated tinnitus induced primarily by:
    1. a.

      High doses of sodium salicylate

    2. b.

      High doses of quinine

    3. c.

      High-level noise exposure

  5. 5.
    A number of tinnitus treatments that target specific mechanisms have been proposed and tested in animal models. These include:
    1. a.

      Calcium channel antagonists

    2. b.

      GABA agonists

    3. c.

      NMDA antagonists

    4. d.


    5. e.

      Potassium channel modulators

    6. f.

      Transcranial magnetic stimulation

  6. 6.

    Tinnitus animal models provide important guidance in the development of new drug therapies.



Animal models Drug therapy Startle reflex Tinnitus 





γ-Aminobutyric acid


Gap prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle


Narrow band noise


Noise burst prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle


N-methyl-d-aspartic acid


Repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation




Schedule induced polydipsia avoidance conditioning


Sodium Salicylate



The authors would like to thank Daniel Stolzberg for his important contributions in developing the GPIAS animal model of tinnitus.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Hearing and DeafnessUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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