• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Review Article

Exp Neurobiol 2022; 31(4): 232-242

Published online August 31, 2022

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

A Review on Peripheral Tinnitus, Causes, and Treatments from the Perspective of Autophagy

Karthikeyan A Vijayakumar1,2†, Gwang-Won Cho1,2†, Nagarajan Maharajan1,2 and Chul Ho Jang3*

1Department of Biology, College of Natural Science, Chosun University, Gwangju 61452, 2BK21 FOUR Education Research Group for Age-Associated Disorder Control Technology, Department of Integrative Biological Science, Chosun University, Gwangju 61452, 3Department of Otolaryngology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 61469, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-62-230-6641, FAX: 82-62-230-6650
These authors contributed equally to this article.

Received: December 10, 2021; Revised: August 3, 2022; Accepted: August 10, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Tinnitus is the perception of phantom noise without any external auditory sources. The degeneration of the function or activity of the peripheral or central auditory nervous systems is one of the causes of tinnitus. This damage has numerous causes, such as loud noise, aging, and ototoxicity. All these sources excite the cells of the auditory pathway, producing reactive oxygen species that leads to the death of sensory neural hair cells. This causes involuntary movement of the tectorial membrane, resulting in the buzzing noise characteristic of tinnitus. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic scavenging activity inside a cell that has evolved as a cell survival mechanism. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effect of autophagy against oxidative stress, which is one of the reasons for cell excitation. This review compiles several studies that highlight the role of autophagy in protecting sensory neural hair cells against oxidative stress-induced damage. This could facilitate the development of strategies to treat tinnitus by activating autophagy.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Tinnitus, Autophagy, ROS, Sensory hair cells, Ototoxicity