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The effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on tinnitus

Publication Reference

Folmer, R. L., Theodoroff, S. M., Casiana, L., Shi, Y., Griest, S., & Vachhani, J. (2015). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for chronic tinnitus: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA otolaryngology–head & neck surgery, 141(8), 716-722.


Article Summary*

In this randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study, the authors used low frequency rTMS or sham in 64 patients with tinnitus. In the active group 2000 pulses at 1Hz were delivered in each session across 10 consecutive working days. The primary outcome measure was a reduction in symptoms using the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), measured at baseline, immediately after the final session, and 1, 2, 4, 14 & 26 weeks following treatment completion. In the active rTMS group there was a significant reduction in TFI symptom measures across all time points following treatment. While there was a significant placebo effect at some time points, at week 26 the active rTMS group had a significant 30.8% reduction in symptoms, whilst the sham group had a non-significant 7% reduction. Based on a response classification of a 7 points improvement in TFI score, there were significantly more responders in the active rTMS group (56%) compared to the sham group (22%). The authors also compared the efficacy of ipsilateral or contralateral stimulation, but with inconclusive findings. In contrast to previous studies they observed a greater improvement in patients who had experienced tinnitus for a longer duration (>11 years). The authors concluded that rTMS can provide clinically meaningful reductions in tinnitus, but more research is needed to identify optimal treatment parameters and responder characteristics.


*For original abstract/publication see the link below.


Publication link: Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment for Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Otolaryngology | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network

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