We compared the effect of different frequencies of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) (1 Hz, 10 Hz, 25 Hz and sham (occipital, 1 Hz)), given daily over the left temporoparietal cortex for 2 weeks, on 66 patients with chronic tinnitus randomly divided into four treatment groups. Patients were assessed using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, self-ratings of symptoms and audiometric measures of residual inhibition before, immediately after 2 weeks’ treatment and monthly thereafter for 4 consecutive months.
Results: There were no significant differences in basal measures between the four groups of patients. A two-factor ANOVA revealed a significant “rTMS” × “time” interaction for all measures. This was because real rTMS produced greater improvement than sham. However, there was no significant difference between the responses to different frequencies of rTMS. The response to rTMS depended on the duration of tinnitus: patients who had tinnitus for the longest period of time were the least likely to respond to treatment.
Conclusion: Daily sessions of rTMS over the temporoparietal cortex may be a useful potential treatment for tinnitus.
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Funding: This work was funded by a grant from the Tinnitus Research Initiative to EMK.
Competing interests: None declared.