Scientific article

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Study

Published inBrain stimulation, vol. 8, no. 6, p. 1101-1107
Publication date2015

BACKGROUND: Tinnitus is an often disabling condition for which there is no effective therapy. Current research suggests that tinnitus may develop due to maladaptive plastic changes and altered activity in the auditory and prefrontal cortex. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates brain activity and has been shown to transiently suppress tinnitus in trials. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy and safety of tDCS in the treatment of chronic subjective tinnitus. METHODS: In a randomized, parallel, double-blind, sham-controlled study, the efficacy and safety of cathodal tDCS to the auditory cortex with anode over the prefrontal cortex was investigated in five sessions over five consecutive days. Tinnitus was assessed after the last session on day 5, and at follow-up visits 1 and 3 months post stimulation using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI, primary outcome measure), Subjective Tinnitus Severity Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, Visual Analogue Scale, and Clinical Global Impression scale. RESULTS: 42 patients were investigated, 21 received tDCS and 21 sham stimulation. There were no beneficial effects of tDCS on tinnitus as assessed by primary and secondary outcome measures. Effect size assessed with Cohen's d amounted to 0.08 (95% CI: -0.52 to 0.69) at 1 month and 0.18 (95% CI: -0.43 to 0.78) at 3 months for the THI. CONCLUSION: tDCS of the auditory and prefrontal cortices is safe, but does not improve tinnitus. Different tDCS protocols might be beneficial.

  • Chronic tinnitus Non-invasive brain stimulation Plasticity Therapeutic study Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
Citation (ISO format)
PAL, Natassja et al. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Study. In: Brain stimulation, 2015, vol. 8, n° 6, p. 1101–1107. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2015.06.014
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1876-4754

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