Which tinnitus patients benefit from transcranial magnetic stimulation?Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Oct; 137(4):589-95.OH
Chronic tinnitus is associated with hyperactivity of the central auditory system. Low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the temporal cortex has been proposed as a treatment for chronic tinnitus. This study determined the factors that predict a beneficial outcome with rTMS treatment.
Forty-five patients with chronic tinnitus underwent 10 sessions of low-frequency rTMS to their left auditory cortex. The treatment outcome was assessed with a tinnitus questionnaire. Therapeutic success was related to the patients' clinical characteristics.
A significant reduction in tinnitus complaints occurred after rTMS. In the questionnaire, 40% of the patients improved by five points or more. Treatment responders were characterized by shorter duration of tinnitus complaints and no hearing impairment.
Tinnitus-related neuroplastic changes might be less pronounced in patients with normal hearing and a short history of complaints. This could explain why those patients benefitted more from rTMS treatment.