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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 487372, 9 pages
Research Article

The Relevance of Interoception in Chronic Tinnitus: Analyzing Interoceptive Sensibility and Accuracy

1Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosignalanalysis, University Hospital of Münster, Malmedyweg 15, 48149 Münster, Germany
2Institute of Psychology, University of Münster, Fliednerstraße 21, 48149 Münster, Germany
3Institute for Physiological Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Universitätsstraße 25, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
4Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Pohligstraße 1, 50969 Cologne, Germany
5Department of Psychology, LMU Munich, Leopoldstraße 13, 80802 Munich, Germany

Received 17 April 2015; Accepted 22 July 2015

Academic Editor: Aage R. Møller

Copyright © 2015 Pia Lau et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In order to better understand tinnitus and distress associated with tinnitus, psychological variables such as emotional and cognitive processing are a central element in theoretical models of this debilitating condition. Interoception, that is, the perception of internal processes, may be such a psychological factor relevant to tinnitus. Against this background, 20 participants suffering from chronic tinnitus and 20 matched healthy controls were tested with questionnaires, assessing interoceptive sensibility, and participated in two tasks, assessing interoceptive accuracy: the Schandry task, a heartbeat estimation assignment, and a skin conductance fluctuations perception task assessing the participants’ ability to perceive phasic increases in sympathetic activation were used. To test stress reactivity, a construct tightly connected to tinnitus onset, we also included a stress induction. No differences between the groups were found for interoceptive accuracy and sensibility. However, the tinnitus group tended to overestimate the occurrence of phasic activation. Loudness of the tinnitus was associated with reduced interoceptive performance under stress. Our results indicate that interoceptive sensibility and accuracy do not play a significant role in tinnitus. However, tinnitus might be associated with a tendency to overestimate physical changes.