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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Nov;147(5):817-25. doi: 10.1177/0194599812458771. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for chronic tinnitus: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.



This systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment for chronic tinnitus. Data Sources Relevant electronic databases and a reference list of articles published up to January 2012 were searched. Randomized controlled clinical trials of all types of rTMS treatment for patients with chronic tinnitus were included.


A literature search was conducted with structured criteria to select studies evaluated for systematic review.


Five trials (160 participants) were included in this review. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment showed benefits in the short term, but the long-term effects are questionable. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and the visual analog scale (VAS) were the major assessment methods used. After active TMS stimulation, the reduction in the THI total score and VAS was significant compared with baseline at the first time point assessed and in the short term (2 weeks and 4 weeks). The longest follow-up time was 26 weeks after treatment, and the shortest follow-up time was 2 weeks. No severe side effects were reported from the use of rTMS. Differences in age, hearing level, duration of tinnitus of the included patients, and the condition of sham treatment may influence the effect.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation could be a new therapeutic tool for the treatment of chronic tinnitus, and thus far we have not been able to demonstrate any substantial risk from rTMS treatment. However, the long-term effects of rTMS treatment for tinnitus are not clear and will require further study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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