TMS, Neurology and Tinnitus
Tinnitus is considered a phantom sound and the result of cortical reorganisation (De Ridder et al 2005), it is frequently associated with deafness and may be the result of a pathological plasticity process. Neuroimaging studies demonstrate increased activity within the central auditory system (Langguth et al. 2006). TMS is a noninvasive method to modulate cortical reorganisation and has been shown to be able to influence tinnitus perception (De Ridder et al. 2005).
Monitoring The Disease
It is possible that tinnitus is associated with an irregular activation of the temporoparietal cortex. Plewnia et al. theorised that if this activity is a functionally relevant component of the tinnitus-related network, a virtual temporary lesion of this area should result in transient reduction of tinnitus. Stimulation of left temporoparietal cortex significantly reduced tinnitus, and the authors stated that secondary auditory areas can be critical for tinnitus perception, perhaps as a consequence of maladaptive cortical reorganisation (Plewnia et al. 2003).
Modulating The Disease
Many studies have demonstrated that tinnitus reduction can be obtained using TMS (Meeus et al 2009, Vanneste et al 2011). Precisely which parts of the brain and the auditory circuits are involved and optimal TMS parameters have not yet been fully explored.
De Ridder et al., Otology & Neurotology, 2005.
Langguth et al., Acta Oto-laryngologica, 2006.
Meeus et al., B-ENT, 2009.
Plewnia et al., Ann Neurol, 2003.
Vanneste et al., J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 2011.