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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2016 May;30(4):349-59. doi: 10.1177/1545968315595286. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Intensity, Duration, and Location of High-Definition Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Tinnitus Relief.

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  • 1University of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • 2City College of New York, New York, NY, USA.
  • 3Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand Tinnitus Research Initiative, Regensburg, Germany.
  • 4University of Auckland, New Zealand Tinnitus Research Initiative, Regensburg, Germany



Tinnitus is the perception of a phantom sound. The aim of this study was to compare current intensity (center anode 1 mA and 2 mA), duration (10 minutes and 20 minutes), and location (left temporoparietal area [LTA] and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [DLPFC]) using 4 × 1 high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation (HD-tDCS) for tinnitus reduction.


Twenty-seven participants with chronic tinnitus (>2 years) and mean age of 53.5 years underwent 2 sessions of HD-tDCS of the LTA and DLPFC in a randomized order with a 1 week gap between site of stimulation. During each session, a combination of 4 different settings were used in increasing dose (1 mA, 10 minutes; 1 mA, 20 minutes; 2 mA, 10 minutes; and 2 mA, 20 minutes). The impact of different settings on tinnitus loudness and annoyance was documented.


Twenty-one participants (77.78%) reported a minimum of 1 point reduction on tinnitus loudness or annoyance scales. There were significant changes in loudness and annoyance for duration of stimulation,F(1, 26) = 10.08,P< .005, and current intensity,F(1, 26) = 14.24,P= .001. There was no interaction between the location, intensity, and duration of stimulation. Higher intensity (2 mA) and longer duration (20 minutes) of stimulation were more effective.


A current intensity of 2 mA for 20-minute duration was the most effective setting used for tinnitus relief. The stimulation of the LTA and DLPFC were equally effective for suppressing tinnitus loudness and annoyance.


high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation; neuromodulation; noninvasive brain stimulation; tinnitus; treatment

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