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Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 1999 Aug;24(4):346-54.

The low-power laser in the treatment of tinnitus.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Arhus University Hospitals, Denmark.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the low-power laser on the treatment of tinnitus. In a randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, either active or placebo low-power laser irradiation was given through the external acoustic meatus of the affected ear towards the cochlea. The active laser applied 50 mW (cw, 830 nm) over a period of 10 min per session. Forty-nine patients with severe, chronic uni- or bilateral tinnitus were studied. The main outcome was measured using psychoacoustical match of tinnitus loudness and pitch, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) ratings of subjective loudness, annoyance and attention involved, scores on the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), the Tinnitus Coping Style Questionnaire (TCSQ), and a number of psychosocial questionnaires. The results showed only moderate (18%) subjective improvement with no statistically significant differences between the effects of the active laser and placebo treatments. Also, there were no statistically significant differences in prepost measurements of tinnitus loudness, VAS scores, THI scores, or TCSQ scores for patients treated with active laser compared with those treated with placebo. We conclude that low-power laser treatment is not indicated in the treatment of tinnitus. Reports of significant benefits of this treatment in previous, mostly uncontrolled or single-blinded studies may be explained by the placebo effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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