Treatment of Tinnitus Using Theta Burst Based Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation-A Single Blinded Randomized Control Trial

Otol Neurotol. 2019 Jun;40(5S Suppl 1):S38-S42. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002207.


Objective: To determine whether theta burst repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is an effective treatment for chronic tinnitus compared with a control stimulus.

Study design: A two-arm, single-blind, randomized controlled trial comparing an active treatment group to a placebo control group.

Setting: Neurotology department of a tertiary referral center.

Patients: Forty new and existing patients with chronic unilateral or bilateral tinnitus were recruited from specialist hearing and balance clinics.

Interventions: The subjects were randomized into two groups representing the treatment and sham subcategories. Two 40 second trains, 15 minutes apart of transcranial stimulation was provided using a super rapid stimulator (2.2. Tesla, Magstim Inc., Wales, UK) using a circular delivery coil. Treatment was provided over 5 consecutive days.

Main outcome measure: Tinnitus functional index (TFI) scores were recorded before treatment, immediately after treatment, 2 weeks, and at 4 weeks following treatment and compared.

Results: TFI scores were analyzed using the Shapiro-Wilk test and found to be normally distributed. A paired Student t test was then performed. Both the active treatment group and control group had a significant improvement in their TFI scores following treatment; however, there was no significant difference between active treatment and sham treatment groups.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated a significant placebo effect following treatment with sham therapy and may suggest that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation does not have a therapeutic use in treating chronic tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tinnitus / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome