Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for treatment of chronic tinnitus

Shujiro B. Minami, Seiichi Shinden, Yasuhide Okamoto, Yukiko Watada, Takahisa Watabe, Naoki Oishi, Sho Kanzaki, Hideyuki Saito, Yasuhiro Inoue, Kaoru Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is compelling evidence that tinnitus is associated with functional alterations in the central nervous system. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a potent tool for modifying neural activity at the stimulated area and at a distance along the functional anatomical connections. Depending on the stimulation parameters, cortical networks can be functionally disturbed or modulated in their activities. Low-frequency rTMS has been shown to result in a decrease in cortical excitability. The technique can alleviate tinnitus by modulating the excitability of neurons in the auditory cortex. We aimed to investigate the effects of low-frequency rTMS in patients and determine the factors that predict a beneficial outcome with rTMS treatment. Methods: Sixteen patients (male 10, female 6) with chronic tinnitus underwent low-frequency (1. Hz) rTMS (intensity: 110% motor threshold; number of stimuli: 1200) to the left auditory cortex. The treatment outcome was assessed with a visual analog scale (VAS) of loudness, annoyance and duration, loudness balance test, and tinnitus handicap inventory (THI). Therapeutic success was studied according to the patients' clinical characteristics. Results: A significant reduction in the VAS (loudness and annoyance) occurred immediately after rTMS, with a gradual return to pretreatment levels after 7 days. The tinnitus patients with sudden deafness were significant resistant to rTMS treatment compared with those diagnosed with age-related hearing loss. Conclusion: These results support the potential of rTMS as a new therapeutic tool for the treatment of chronic tinnitus. Because this study was performed with a small sample size and showed high interindividual variability in treatment effects, further development of the technique is needed before it can be recommended for clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalAuris Nasus Larynx
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun


  • RTMS
  • Tinnitus
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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