Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and chronic subjective tinnitus

Authors: Jana Dvořáková 1;  Martin Anders 1;  Ivo Paclt 1;  Jiří Raboch 1;  Martin Holcát 2;  Lucie Rathová 2;  Berthold Langguth 3
Authors‘ workplace: Psychiatrická klinika 1. LF UK a VFN, Praha 1;  Klinika otorhinolaryngologie 1. LF UK a VFN, Praha 2;  Klinika pro psychiatrii, psychosomatiku a psychoterapii Universität Regensburg, Německo 3
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2007; 70/103(4): 371-374
Category: Review Article


Chronic tinnitus is a frequent and often severely disabling disorder with a prevalence of over 8 % in subjects over 50 years. Tinnitus disrupts the full-value life of the patient and it is difficult to treat . The disorder is frequently associated with hearing loss and may be the result of neuroplastic alterations within the brain. Neuroimaging studies demonstrate increased activity within the central auditory system. TMS is a non-invasive method uses electromagnetic principles. TMS allows to modulate the excitability within superficial cortical areas. Stimulation effects can propagate also to functionally connected remote brain areas. It has been successfully employed in the treatment of other conditions associated with increased activity of the cerebral cortex. Applied as low frequency rTMS it has been proven to be effective for the treatment of disorders which are associated with focal hyperexcitability such as auditory hallucinations. There is a good theoretical basis and increasing research evidence suggesting a potential of TMS for the treatment of tinnitus. Further studies with large sample sizes and additional assessment of neurobiological effects are needed. Within this paper we discuss the potential for TMS as a therapy of tinnitus.

Key words:
chronic tinnitus – auditory cortex, hyperexcitability – repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation – long-term depression – phantom auditory perception


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