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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2014 May;15(4):276-85. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2012.708438. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

Efficacy of different protocols of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of tinnitus: Pooled analysis of two randomized controlled studies.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg , Regensburg , Germany.



Tinnitus is related to alterations in neuronal activity of auditory and nonauditory brain areas. Targeted modulation of these areas by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been proposed as a new therapeutic approach for chronic tinnitus.


Two randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, controlled clinical trials were performed subsequently and pooled for analysis. A total of 192 tinnitus patients were randomly allocated to receive 10 stimulation sessions of either sham rTMS, PET-based neuronavigated 1 Hz rTMS, 1Hz r TMS over the left auditory cortex, or combined 20 Hz rTMS over the left frontal cortex, followed by 1 Hz rTMS over the left auditory cortex.


rTMS treatment was well tolerated and no severe side effects were observed. All active rTMS treatments resulted in significant reduction of the TQ as compared to baseline. The comparison between treatment groups failed to reach significant differences. The number of treatment responders was higher for temporal rTMS(38%) and combined frontal and temporal rTMS (43%), as compared to sham (6%).


This large study demonstrates the safety and tolerability of rTMS treatment in patients with chronic tinnitus. While the overall effect did not prove superior to placebo, secondary outcome parameters argue in favour of the active stimulation groups, and specifically the combined frontal and temporal rTMS protocol.


Neuropsychiatry; PET; randomized clinical trial; tinnitus; transcranial magnetic stimulation

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